It’s Adirondack Balloon Festival Time In Queensbury!
It’s that incredible time again when temperatures are cooler, leaves are turning, and the balloons are returning to Queensbury!
Adirondack Balloon Festival History
Celebrating its 45th anniversary, this balloon festival dates back to the early 1970s, when Warren County’s tourism and publicity office was looking for an idea for an event after Labor Day. Hot air balloons were not a popular pastime at that time. There were relatively few in the nation. But John Marsden from Manchester, VT had one and happened to share his photos of his balloon with some Glens Falls Residents, including Walter Grishkot. Grishkot loved the idea and the Adirondack Balloon Festival was born. Originally hosted at the Adirondack Community College (now SUNY Adirondack), the event grew throughout the years and was eventually moved to a larger location to accommodate the growing crowds.
Unusual for a festival of this size, the festival is actually a not-for-profit organization and is run strictly by volunteers. There is no paid staff. They rely on the community and local businesses for support. Admission is FREE, but there are plenty of opportunities to help out by purchasing merchandise or other goodies that are offered by the sponsors and vendors.
Balloonists from across the United States as well as internationally based pilots will all be at the festival. Over the 4 days, the event often draws around 150,000 people or more and it has been named one of the Top 100 Events in North America, receiving coverage from the Food Network, the Weather Channel, and other media sources including the Associated Press and the New York Times.
What to Expect & Tips
Parking is free, but plan ahead. Since this event draws thousands of people, traffic can back up, especially around the peak hours during balloon launches. Self-contained RVs are allowed, but camping is not. You may want to bring lawn chairs, blankets, coolers, etc. Cameras and pictures encouraged! Dress in layers as September temperatures can vary greatly throughout the day. If you plan on being there during the evening moonglow, also be sure to have a flashlight with you.
(Visit the Balloon Festival Blog for updated news on the event)
This Year’s Balloon Festival Schedule Includes:
Musical performances by The Master Cylinders, The North & South Dakotas, Buckeye Rooster, Across The Pond, and more
- Food Vendors
- Craft Vendors
- Kids’ Activities
- Block Party
- Display Balloon Baskets
- Car Show
- Photo Contest
- Balloon Flights (weather permitting)
- All-You-Can-Eat Breakfasts
- “Lighting Up The Night” Airport Moonglow
- Church Services
- Simultaneous Balloon Flights
- Private Balloon Rides (as available – please schedule ahead)
- Free Parking – VIP parking passes available through the website
Flight times are approximate and all activities are weather and wind permitting. Flight updates can be found on the festival’s Facebook site and Twitter.
*No camping, dogs/pets, drones, remote controlled aircrafts, or smoking allowed anywhere on festival grounds.*
For more information, visit the Adirondack Balloon Festival website here.
Founder Walter Grishkot passed away in 2011, but his festival lives on. A foundation in his memory was also created to raise money to promote interest in aviation and aerospace science education. More information about the Walter Grishkot Memorial Scholarship Fund, as well as donation information can be found here!