GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Things are falling into place and getting ready to shoot up into the air, in the weeks leading up to this year’s Adirondack Balloon Festival.

This week, the festival has made some updated announcements, including a look at the theme coming with the annual event’s high-flying return from Sept. 23-26.

The theme of the 48th annual balloon festival is “Celebrating our Local Essential Workers,” in an announcement made on Sunday. And when they talk about raising essential workers up, they really mean it.

On Saturday morning, a local essential worker will be riding in each balloon launched during a mass ascension at Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport in Queensbury, which is serving as the festival’s central hub this year.

“As one of the largest spectator events in the northeast, we have a responsibility to create an environment which keeps all our spectators, balloon teams and volunteers safe,” said festival board president Mark Donahue.

“We could not think of a better way to give back to our community than to celebrate our essential workers and show our appreciation,” Donahue said.

Another COVID mark on the event is its new logo, inspired by the Rainbow Project, a movement through the pandemic where families put rainbows in windows to spread cheer during and after quarantine.

Other COVID-spurred changes this year include a lack of any food or craft vendors, and a diminished number of balloons, from 100 down to a maximum of 50 flying this year.

The full schedule of the 2021 Adirondack Balloon Festival

Recognizable shapes to spot emerging from the town include a dragon, panda bear, Fred the Rabbit, and Sunny Boy.

Face masks are not strictly required but are recommended for all attendees.

The festival lifts off on Thursday evening, with a block party in downtown Glens Falls featuring live music, a car show and a balloon candlestick glow. Crandall Park has been removed from this year’s location list, due to limited social distancing abilities.

VIP tickets can be purchased online.