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Crowd-pleasing Balloon Fest this weekend

The Adirondack Balloon Festival is the oldest and largest balloon festival on the East Coast and attracts participants from all around the world. This year the event celebrates its 40th anniversary.

The Adirondack Balloon Festival is the oldest and largest balloon festival on the East Coast and attracts participants from all around the world. This year the event celebrates its 40th anniversary. Janet Loughrey

— The 40th annual edition of the Adirondack Balloon Festival — considered the nation’s premier family-oriented event of its kind — is set for this weekend, and it features two “Moonglow” mass balloon light-up events, two nights of fireworks and a record number of specially-shaped balloons, festival organizer and President Mark Donohue said.

“ It’s going to be a grand show this year,” he said. “Our 40th anniversary is a celebration for our community. From its small humble beginnings, this balloon festival would not have become what it is without the incredible community commitment and participation.”

At no other balloon festival can spectators see dozens of colorful hot-air balloons take flight and get close enough to help a pilot and crew launch their craft.

This year’s event, set for Thursday, Sept. 19 through Sunday, Sept. 22, includes fancifully shaped craft among the 100-plus balloons from across the U.S. and Canada scheduled to participate.

With all activities free of charge, the festival kicks off at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Crandall Park in Glens Falls with a performance by the beloved country-rock group Stony Creek Band, the inbflation of a 40th anniversary birthday cake balloon, then a liftoff of up to 25 or more balloons, weather permitting.

From about 6 to 9 p.m., Glens Falls will be hosting a downtown balloon fest block party, which features a candlestick balloon glow, children’s activities, music, food, and fireworks.

On Friday, the festival moves to the Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport in Queensbury, where gates open at 3 p.m. for craft fair, vendors, and family activities. At 5 p.m. and thereafter, a launch of 80+ balloons including this year’s new shapes is to occur.

Following the liftoffs, activities move to Lake George Village for the first of the Moonglow events at Battlefield Park at dusk with fireworks over the lake.

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