QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – This September, the skies over Glens Falls, Queensbury, and Lake George will be dotted with color for the 50th year running. The Adirondack Balloon Festival is about to turn 50.

The festival returns to the region from Wednesday to Sunday, Sept. 20-24, completely free to all visitors. More than 70 balloons are expected to take to the sky, coming from across the country and even outside the U.S.

“The organizing committee has been planning for this event for at least 5 years,” said festival President Mark Donahue. “We want to honor our roots but also add new, fresh ideas to the event. Our group of volunteer organizers has been working around the clock to make this happen, as we know how much it means to the community.”

The festival uses Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport as its home base, but events also encompass Hiland Park Country Club and Glens Falls’ Crandall Park. Vendors will be onsite throughout the festivities to keep visitors fed and happy as they look to the skies.

The schedule for the 2023 Adirondack Balloon Festival includes:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 20
    • Cocktail reception and Moonglow
      • 5-8 p.m.
      • Hiland Park Country Club, 195 Haviland Road, Queensbury
      • Event honoring balloon pilots and community sponsors. Artist Lynn Benevento will unveil a special 50th-anniversary painting.
      • $40 per person
  • Thursday, Sept. 21
    • Parade
      • 4 p.m.
      • Runs from downtown Glens Falls to Crandall Park along Glen Street
    • Opening ceremonies
      • 5 p.m.
      • Words from organizers and other representatives, inflation of a special 50th-anniversary commemorative balloon, launch of 10 balloons, and a Moonglow light-up balloon event at Crandall Park
      • Music by The McKrells from 4-6 p.m., The Refrigerators from 7-9 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 22
    • Festival begins at Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport
      • Gates open at 3 p.m.
      • Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport, 443 Queensbury Ave., Queensbury
      • More than 70 balloons fly at 5:30 p.m.
      • Zonta craft fair, exhibitors, kids activities
      • Live music by Pluck & Rail, 4-6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 23
    • Festival continues
      • Gates open at 4:30 a.m.
      • 5 to 10 balloons launch in the “dawn patrol” starting around 5:45 a.m., with more than 70 more launching at 7 a.m.
      • A second flight of more than 70 balloons starting at 5:30 p.m.
      • Zonta craft fair, exhibitors, and more open in the afternoon
      • Live music by The K&O Show from 2-4 p.m., The Ryan Montbleau Band from 5-7 p.m.
      • Moonglow lit balloon event at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Sept. 24
    • Final day of festivities
      • Gates open at 4:30 a.m.
      • 90 balloons will fly at 7 a.m.

The 50th anniversary comes at a time significant to two communities brought together by a love of ballooning. Earlier this year, a delegation from Saga City, Japan, visited Glens Falls for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic to celebrate the two cities’ relationship as sister cities. The two communities were first linked by their balloon festivals, with Saga celebrating the annual Saga International Balloon Fiesta.