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Look, Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s The Adirondack Balloon Festival!

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New York’s Largest Hot Air Balloon Festival Celebrates its 40th Anniversary

The 2012 Adirondack Balloon Festival

Moon Glow at the 2010 Adirondack Balloon Festival. Photo by Dave Bower

More than 100 hot air balloons of all colors, shapes, and sizes will be launched across the Adirondack countryside beginning Thursday, September 20th at 4pm at Crandall Park in Glens Falls. This four-day event is the oldest and largest balloon gathering on the East Coast and will include free musical entertainment, travel exhibits, kite flying, aircraft displays, and meet-and-greets with pilots.

Named one of the “Seven Breathtaking Balloon Adventures” by CNN, the Adirondack Balloon Festival was first introduced to the Glens Falls region in early 1970 and held at Adirondack Community College (SUNY Adirondack). The venue was later changed to Warren County Airport to accommodate roughly 100-150,000 people.

Events kick off at 4pm on Thursday, September 20th at Crandall Park in Glens Falls, with live music, followed by opening ceremonies in honor of this year’s 40th shapes and sizes. The traditional block party starts at 6am and will feature many of this year’s balloon baskets, a car show, stuff for the kids as well as fireworks.

Friday’s events will feature a balloon launch at 5pm at Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport in Queensbury. Here’s where roughly 80 balloons will take off, many of which are also special shapes. While that’s underway, you’ll want to head out to Lake George village for the annual moon glow at Battlefield Park, where tethered balloons light up the night.

If you’ve never been to a moon glow before, check out the video below.

Saturday and Sunday (September 22nd & 23rd) feature two full days of events at the Bennett Airport. A “Big Balloon Breakfast” will be served at the Airport Hangar starting at 5am on both Saturday and Sunday. Food vendors and kid’s activities will be present throughout the weekend including a bounce house and a rock climbing wall. Admission is free. Plenty of vendors will be on hand for both days as well as a craft fair, events for kids, live music by Jonathan Newell and roughly 100 balloons that will hit the skies during the course of the weekend. Bennett airport will have a “40 for 40” moon glow as well on Saturday night, with 40 balloons participating. Sunday morning you can see “Walter’s Mass Ascension” at 6:30am,where a simultaneous Flight of 100 Balloons will take place including over 10 special shapes.

Festivities conclude on Sunday in Crandall Park with a party featuring DJs, all topped off with final launch starting at 5pm.

All balloon events are held weather permitting. Donations will be accepted for parking, Premiere VIP parking is available for a fee.

For more info, visit

Brenna Filipello is a Contributor to The Free George

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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