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Balloons return to the skies Saturday night
ADIRONDACK BALLOON FESTIVAL

Balloons return to the skies Saturday night

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QUEENSBURY — Hot air balloon pilots at the 46th annual Adirondack Balloon Festival took off from the Warren County airport on Saturday evening after two consecutive launches were canceled on Friday night and Saturday morning.

“We are flying and we are glowing,” Balloon Festival Director Mark Donahue said after finding out the wind speeds would be fine. “It’s going to be awesome.”

The 96 registered pilots got their balloons ready. They had two choices: take a long flight with the winds taking them south toward Moreau, or take a short flight and stay for the moon glow at 8 p.m.

If they left the airport, the backed-up traffic would delay them beyond the moon glow’s start time. At the moon glow, the balloons are lit up when the sun goes down and the balloons’ colors pop in contrast to the night’s sky.

The National Weather Service out of Albany forecasts beautiful weather for the Glens Falls area on Sunday, the final day of the Balloon Festival. It projects winds to be around 2 mph for the morning launch in Queensbury and 3 mph for the event’s last launch in Glens Falls’ Crandall Park.

Saturday morning’s flights were canceled because wind gusts were up to 19 mph before 6 a.m., Donahue said.

Many in the morning came to enjoy the balloons that could go up tethered, while walking around the vendors’ stands or grabbing a hot “Big Balloon Breakfast” to support The Open Door Mission. The breakfast will be held from 5 to 10 a.m. Sunday, with all profits going to the nonprofit organization that helps feed and shelter those struggling in the Glens Falls region.

Sunday is the final day of the Balloon Festival. Starting at 6:30 a.m., Walter’s Mass Ascension will go off with simultaneous flights of around 96 balloons and special shapes.

Walter’s Mass Ascension honors Walter Grishkot, who passed away in 2011. He played an integral role in developing the Balloon Festival into what it is today.

The festival moves back to Crandall Park for another launch of about 20 balloons at 5 p.m. with live music beginning at 2 p.m.

Andrew David Kuczkowski is the education reporter. Andrew can be reached at 518-742-3354. Follow Andrew on Twitter: @ByKuczkowski.

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