The Adirondack Balloon Festival, considered the oldest and largest hot air balloon event on the East Coast, is once again taking place in Lake George on September 19-22. The event adds to the fall color of the Adirondack landscape. Watching the balloons fill the sky is a breathtaking experience.
The schedule kicks-off on Thursday, September 19, at Glen Falls’ Crandall Park. Live music, vendors, and children’s activities help set the tone for the weekend. Weather permitting, a flight of 20 balloons will fill the sky.
On Friday through Sunday, the action moves to the Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport where gates open at 3:00 pm, Friday. The returns to Crandall Park on Sunday evening.
The festival’s longest scheduled day is Saturday. Pilots normally start inflating the balloons on Saturday and Sunday around 6 am. Be prepared for road congestion as other participants are attempting to see the balloons take flight. A good incentive to arrive early is the Big Balloon Breakfast at the airport hangar. The “all you can eat” affair is $10 for adults and free children under the age of four.
Please keep in the mind that dogs, drones, and remote aircraft are not allowed on-site, or in the air, for the safety of the hot air balloons and passengers. Smoking is also not permitted.
Around 35 pilots offer rides, but advanced registration is encouraged. Once the pilots inflate their balloons and the weather conditions are right, they fly wherever the wind carries them. Though they usually fly away as soon as they are inflated, the celebration continues on the ground with bounce houses, climbing wall, craft vendors, kite flying, local food, and live music.
One activity that is worth the wait is the Saturday evening Balloon Moonglow when pilots use the burner to light the balloons at night.
Sunday morning brings a special mass ascension with public religious services in honor of the festival’s founder Walter Grishkot.