Adirondack Balloon Festival ready to take flight

QUEENSBURY, NY (NEWS10) – Ask balloon master Robert Dicks what he thinks of handling the 50-odd balloons behind the return of the Adirondack Balloon Festival, and he’ll tell you.

“The less stressed, the closer we get.”

Dicks and festival board chairman Mark Donohue had a busy day ahead of them Friday morning at Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport in Queensbury, preparing for a 3 p.m. gate opening that would see fewer balloons than ‘a typical year, but that they’re hoping to keep things as COVID-19 safe as possible.

“We just had to be flexible,” Donohue said. “With COVID, we had to change our plans several times to ensure safety.”

It also led to the elimination of vendors this year, as well as the decision to handle things exclusively at the airport. In other years, some balloons were launched from Crandall Park in Glens Falls.

Many festival regulars who are not coming this year come from further afield, such as California or events outside the United States. But another deciding factor was a surprising number of unvaccinated people. These people had to be excluded from the event from the start.

And it’s the COVID that remains in the minds of the organizers, and in the DNA of this weekend’s festival.

Essential workers will be honored on the 6.30am flight on Saturday morning, taking a ride in 50 balloons from the airport.

Doors open at 4:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Find the full program online.

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