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40th Adirondack Balloon Festival has something for everyone

The Adirondack Balloon Festival will be held Sept. 19 - 22, at locations in Glens Falls and Queensbury. It’s the largest ballooning event on the East Coast.

The Adirondack Balloon Festival will be held Sept. 19 - 22, at locations in Glens Falls and Queensbury. It’s the largest ballooning event on the East Coast.

— This year, a hummingbird balloon named Jewel, an elephant named Pea-nut and a skunk named Stinky will make their debuts at the festival. Joining them will be the Wicked hot air balloon, themed after the Broadway musical. In addition, favorites such as Spyderpig, Purple People Eater, Claw’d the Crazy Crab, Dingbat and Pigheaded will appear.

The event begins on Thursday, Sept 19, at 4 p.m. in Crandall Park in Glens Falls with the launch of 20 balloons. Events then move to the Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport in Queensbury through Sunday afternoon with closing ceremonies and a final balloon launch once again in Crandall Park.

Donahue said it is important to read the schedule of events. Although activities are going on all day at the airport, the balloons only fly at certain times of the day due to weather.

“Balloons fly close to sunrise and sunset because of the wind midday, but there is activity going on all day,” he said.

Airport gates will open at 3 p.m. on Friday and more than 80 balloons are scheduled to launch at 5 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday mornings kick off with a “Big Balloon Breakfast” at 5 a.m. when one of the airport hangars will be converted into an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast. Food vendors will serve food all day beginning at 6 a.m. Various kids activities, a craft fair and live music will be ongoing Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, balloons launch at 6:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. The balloons will light up the night at 8 p.m. that night when more than 20 balloons are tethered to the ground after dark.

“The balloons glow. It’s quite a show for people to see,” Donahue said.

At 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, 100 balloons will lift simultaneously for what is called Walter’s Mass Ascension.

“Walter was a co-founder who ran it for many years and passed away two years ago. We dedicate the Sunday morning launch to him. We encourage balloonists to wait for a set time and everyone lifts off at the same time,” Donahue said. “It’s an awesome sight to see.”

Donahue said seeing the brightly colored balloons against the blue sky and the backdrop of the Adirondack mountains has an effect on everyone, young and old.

Special VIP parking will be available at the airport’s main entrance for $15 for the weekend. Parking passes can be purchased online at the festival’s website, ww.adirondackballoonfest.org, where there is also a complete schedule of events.

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