GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After a year grounded by COVID-19, the Adirondack Balloon Festival is poised to fill up the sky once again this September.

The festival will be bringing balloons back to the North Country on Sept. 23-26 for its 48th year, at no cost to visitors.

As in a usual year, the festival will span East Field in Glens Falls, other launch sites across Warren and Washington counties, and a drive-thru moonglow event. However, organizers say it won’t be the same as a pre-coronavirus year.

“Due to COVID, we had to totally reinvent the festival this year,” said Mark Donahue, president of the balloon festival board of directors. “We are excited to bring back the joy and wonder of the mass ascensions, while keeping safe and still having fun. 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.”

There are some changes due to continuing coronavirus concerns, including a decreased festival merchandise presence, and launches shrinking from 100 to 50 balloons.

A full daily schedule for the festival was also released, courtesy of Advokate LLC:

  • Thursday evening, September 23
    • Downtown Glens Falls block party
    • Live music, candlestick balloon torch firings, sidewalk sales
  • Friday evening, September 24
    • Inflation of more than 50 balloons across Glens Falls, Queensbury, South Glens Falls, Hudson Falls and one more to be determined
  • Saturday morning, September 25 
    • Mass ascension at Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport in Queensbury, of 50 balloons including special shapes
    • Balloons will be roped off, spread out along both runways, with visitors able to drive right in
    • Pilots are not allowed to take passengers along for the ride this year
    • Vendors will not be present this year
  • Saturday evening, September 25
    • Two moonglows:
    • One at Floyd Bennet Memorial Airport, with 40 tethered balloons on display, lit up from within;
    • And a brand-new second event at East Field with a live band, 8-10 balloons, and possibly a fireworks display
  • Sunday morning, September 26
    • Mass ascension at the airport of 50 balloons including special shapes, with the same setup as Saturday.