Last day of Saratoga Balloon & BBQ Festival includes car show benefit for veterans

Saratoga County

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Sunday wrapped up what organizers say was a successful weekend for the Saratoga Balloon and BBQ Festival. The final day including multiple events, including a car show to raise money for an organization providing assistance to veterans in need.

“We’ve had a good weekend, we’re happy with the outcome. I’m really, personally, I do events for a living and I’m just really happy we can do events again after being down a year and a half,” said Tim Cianciola, one of the event’s organizers.

Balloons were able to be launched Saturday morning and evening. Organizers say the event has continued to grow over the years, as they look to add new features each year.

This year, the final day included a barbecue cook-off and car show to benefit veterans.

“Helping us bring awareness to the veterans in our area, homeless veterans and their families, and helping us supply services and supports to continue with those needs,” Michelle Viola-Straight, Director of Community Relations for Veterans and Community Housing Coalition, explains.

Money raised during the event will benefit VCHC, specifically the Foreverly House project, which will help veteran mothers and their children.

“We’ll be able to take these female veterans and with their children, give them all the supports and services they need, and then we can transfer them into permanent supportive housing,” Viola-Straight said.

Some who served participated in the car show to help make a difference. “This is just great because a lot of the vets can’t provide for themselves,” local Vietnam veteran Donald Giglio said. “The money raised here helps support the veterans.”

For Giglio, the event provides an opportunity to showcase the car that helped him through the difficult times he’s faced since returning home. “I’m 100% service-connected, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a gunshot wound. But this is my life, this here,” he explained. “Having post-traumatic stress, and working on the truck—this truck saved my life.”

VCHC hopes to break ground on the Foreverly House sometime next year.

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