Adirondack Balloon Festival starts without flights

Glens Falls Mayor Bill Collins greets residents and visitors at the opening of the 49th annual Adirondacks Hot Air Balloon Festival in Crandall Park on Thursday.

GLENS FALLS – The 49th annual Adirondacks Hot Air Balloon Festival got off to a blustery start at Crandall Park on Thursday.

Crowds gathered around a turquoise and purple balloon resting on the ground eagerly as the crew tried to battle the windy conditions to inflate the hot air balloon. It was one of 10 who couldn’t take off on Thursday afternoon during the festival’s opening ceremonies.

Families transported children in wagons and buggies from the bouncy house to the various food trucks and tents set up around the perimeter of the field.

Jasmine, a young girl present with her family and her dog, stood in front of a failed launch. She said she can’t wait to see the balloons inflate.

“They’re trying to catch the air in there to push it up,” she explained, pointing to the ball behind her.

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Live music streamed from the stage under the trees as the balloon pilots unpacked their gear and wished the winds would blow away.

“Well, at least we’ve got it sorted out for tomorrow,” a man could be heard saying as he gave up trying to bulk up.

Crowds appeared undeterred as they moved around the pitch watching the ball baskets and standing in the memorabilia line, which numbered at least 25 people at all times.

Festival organizer Mark Donahue gave an opening speech to the crowd between the band’s sets.

He described the colorful strips of fabric that will flap in the wind attached to the nacelle of the hot air balloon on Saturday morning which will pay tribute to Walt and Joan Grishkot, founders of the festival.

“I saw it at another festival and it really is a beautiful sight to see,” Donahue told the crowd of the tribute.

Donahue was followed by Glens Falls Mayor Bill Collins, who greeted the crowd with the energy of a rock band member.

“Welcome to Glens Falls and Warren County,” Collins shouted to the crowd. “They stopped the rain just for you guys. Welcome to a wonderful weekend.”

The mayor urged attendees to support local businesses sponsoring the event.

“It’s one of the highlights of the community – the fact that it’s a non-profit and these guys are all volunteers putting this together and paying for the balloon pilots to come and their hotel rooms,” Collins said. The Post Star after his reception.

“This event brings millions of dollars to taxpayers in Glens Falls. We have to support them,” he said.

A family enjoys the festivities during the opening ceremony of the 49th annual Adirondacks Hot Air Balloon Festival at Crandall Park in Glens Falls on Thursday. The festival continues at the Warren County Airport through Sunday.

Jana De Camilla

Jana DeCamilla is a writer covering Moreau, Queensbury and Lake George. She can be reached at 518-742-3272 or