Adirondack Balloon Festival to salute essential workers

This year’s 48th annual Adirondack Balloon Festival will salute local essential workers.

Organizers have announced the details of this year’s event, which will look different than past festivals because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The event will take place from Sept. 23-26.

“As one of the largest spectator events in the Northeast, we have a responsibility to create an environment which keeps all of our spectators, balloon teams and volunteers safe,” said Mark Donahue, president of the festival’s board of directors, in a news release. “Therefore, the decision was made to not have food or craft vendors in order to reduce a large gathering of people in many areas.”

Organizers are recommending that people who attend wear masks.

The event kicks off Thursday, Sept. 23, with a block party in downtown Glens Falls. It will feature live music, a car show and a balloon candlestick glow. No takeoff will be held in Crandall Park to avoid crowding.

The event continues all day on Sept. 24 and Sep. 25. at Warren County Airport. A moonglow of 40 balloons will be held at the airport Saturday evening.

The festival concludes on Sept. 26 with “Walter and Joan’s Mass Ascension,” a flight of 50 balloons from the airport, honoring the late Walter and Joan Grishkot, festival fouunders and guiding lights.

A limited quantity of balloon festival merchandise will be available and will be sold at the block party.

The logo this year is a rainbow-colored balloon, inspired by the Rainbow Project, which uses rainbows to express optimism and appreciation for front-line workers. Saturday’s flight will feature an essential worker flying in each balloon.

Special shape balloons this year are Dragon, Panda Bear, Fred the Rabbit and Sunny Boy.

This will be the first festival since the death of Joan Grishkot on Aug 5. Grishkot was the treasurer for the event and handled many of the behind-the-scenes details.

An earlier schedule had called for a second moonglow on Saturday at East Field in Glens Falls, but that event has been dropped from the schedule.

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

VIP parking passes can be purchased on the website.

Warren County Health Services Director Ginelle Jones recommended mask-wearing and social-distancing, as well as vaccinations for all who are eligible.

Anyone sick should stay home.

“If you have so much as a sniffle, you don’t go; because you’re just putting other people at risk,” she said.


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