“Most Anticipated Event of 2021” Adirondack Balloon Festival is back, and reinvented

The internationally recognized Adirondack Balloon Festival announced today that they are returning this September with new and reinvented experiences, created with public health in mind. Hundreds of thousands of spectators are typically expected, and the changes to the event will allow for social distancing and safety, as well as brand-new events for the community, say organizers.

The festival has been named one of the Top 100 Events in North America and has received accolades from the Weather Channel, Food Network, and the New York Times. Through the years, the Adirondack Balloon Festival has drawn international exposure for the Glens Falls region with relationships formed in cities such as Saga City, Japan, and Gatineau, Quebec, and brings in balloon pilots from across the country as well as internationally.

Recently, Post-Star readers named the festival in four award categories: Best Local Event, Best Tourist Attraction, Most Missed Event of 2020 and Most Anticipated Event for 2021. The Times Union named it in the Top Five Capital Region Festivals.

The Adirondack Balloon Festival had its start in the early 1970’s as the brainchild of visionary Walter Grishkot, and as a team with his wife Joan Grishkot, who sadly passed away in July, founded the event. Following Walter’s death in 2011, a foundation was set up in his memory to raise funds to promote interest in education in the sciences of aviation and aerospace.

The festival is a not-for-profit organization, and funded with community support.

The press release that organizers sent out this morning follows:

Adirondack Balloon Festival returns this September;
Reinvented with brand-new events

Queensbury, NY — The nationally-known event, the Adirondack Balloon Festival, is back this September for its 48th year, with a brand-new format, expanding to include a new event at East Field in Glens Falls, multiple launch sites throughout Warren and Washington counties, a drive-through moonglow, and more.

“This will not be the same-old, same-old Adirondack Balloon Festival you know from years past,” says Mark Donahue, President of the organization’s Board of Directors. “Due to COVID, we had to totally reinvent the festival this year. We are excited to bring back the joy and wonder of the mass ascensions, while keeping safe and still having fun. Our group of volunteer organizers has been working around the clock to make this happen, as we know how much it means to the community.”

The 48th annual Adirondack Balloon Festival takes place Thursday to Sunday, September 23 to 26, 2021, in multiple locations. As always, the event is 100% free for the community. Festival Merchandise, one of the event’s biggest fundraisers, will be for sale at select events, with a smaller selection than in previous years. See below for the schedule.

Thursday evening, September 23

Downtown Glens Falls block party with live music, candlestick balloon torch firings, sidewalk sales, and more.

Friday evening, September 24

Inflation of more than 50 balloons in five different communities, including Glens Falls, Queensbury, South Glens Falls, Hudson Falls and one more to be finalized. The Balloon Festival comes to you! This is safer because the crowds will be spread out.

Saturday morning, September 25 

Mass ascension at Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport in Queensbury, New York, of 50 balloons including special shapes. (Note, pre-COVID launches were 100 balloons.) The balloons will be roped off, spread out along both runways, and you can drive right in, saving spectators the long walks of previous years. This year, the Balloon Festival cannot allow vendors, children’s activities, or the Open Door breakfast. Pilots can’t take paid passengers this year.

Saturday evening, September 25

There will be two moonglows. At the airport, you can attend a drive-through moonglow to observe 40 tethered balloons on display, lit up from within. There will also be a brand-new event at East Field with a live band, 8-10 balloons, and possibly a fireworks display! The details of the band and fireworks are still in the works.

Sunday morning, September 26

Mass ascension at the airport of 50 balloons including special shapes, with the same setup as Saturday.

The Adirondack Balloon Festival’s launches are subject to weather conditions. The balloons cannot fly for safety reasons  if it is too windy or if there is inclement weather.

Contact the Adirondack Balloon Festival, a registered 501(c)3, to sponsor this free event for the community and make a tax-deductible contribution to keep the festival going. 

For more information, visit www.adirondackballoonfest.org or follow @adirondackballoonfest on Facebook for breaking updates.

hot air balloons