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ADIRONDACK BALLOON FESTIVAL

Adirondack Balloon Festival begins with no flights

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Glens Falls Mayor Bill Collins welcomes locals and visitors to the opening of the 49th Annual Adirondack Balloon Festival at Crandall Park on Thursday.

GLENS FALLS — The 49th Annual Adirondack Balloon Festival had a windy start in Crandall Park on Thursday.

Crowds gathered around a turquoise and purple balloon laid out on the field with bated breath as the crew tried to fight the windy conditions to inflate the hot air balloon. It was one of 10 that could not launch on Thursday afternoon at the festival’s opening ceremonies.

Families toted kids around in wagons and strollers from the bounce house to the various food trucks and tents set up around the perimeter of the field.

Jasmine, a young girl attending with her family and her dog, stood in front of a failed launch. She said she was looking forward to seeing the balloons inflate.

“They’re trying to catch the air in there to make it go up,” she explained as she motioned to the balloon behind her.

Live music flowed from the stage beneath the trees as balloon pilots unpacked their gear and wished the winds away.

“Well at least we have it untangled for tomorrow,” one man could be heard saying as he gave up trying to inflate.

The crowds did not seem to be discouraged as they moved around the field looking at the balloon baskets and standing in the souvenir line, which was at least 25 people long at all times.

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

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

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

Donahue was followed by Glens Falls Mayor Bill Collins, who welcomed 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 that sponsor the event.

“This is one of the anchor events in the community — the fact that it’s a nonprofit and these guys are all volunteers that put this together and pay for the balloon pilots to come and their hotel rooms,” Collins told The Post-Star after his welcome.

“This event brings millions of tax dollars into Glens Falls. We need to support them,” he said.

Jasmine and family

A family enjoys the festivities at the opening ceremony of the 49th Annual Adirondack Balloon Festival at Crandall Park in Glens Falls on Thursday. The festival continues at the Warren County airport through Sunday.

Jana DeCamilla is a staff writer who covers Moreau, Queensbury, and Lake George. She can be reached at 518-742-3272 or jdecamilla@poststar.com.

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