Fog halts launches on last day of successful Adirondack Balloon Festival

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QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Foggy and cloudy weather prevented any balloons from launching on the final day of this year’s Adirondack Balloon Festival. But despite the weather challenges Sunday morning, organizers say it was a successful return after last year’s event was canceled.

Crowds of people returned to the Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport in Queensbury this weekend for the much anticipated return of the Adirondack Balloon Festival. Over a dozen balloons lined the Adirondack sky Sunday morning, giving visitors a chance to see some of their favorite balloons, even if they didn’t venture far into the sky.

“Not only did you see, you could see up close. What’s nice when the balloons can’t fly in the fog is you can roam around, see the special shapes up close, talk to the pilots,” said Mark Donahue, the festival board’s president.

While balloons weren’t launched, some did slightly leave the ground, with some rising into the air on strings. Visitors also got an up-close look at their favorites getting inflated. Some visited the festival for the very first time, “They said it was fun, so I just figured I’d come along,” said Bobby Taylor from Hudson Falls.

While others have been coming for years. “I enjoy the balloons, photographing all the different shapes and sizes and also to get some of the light from the sun, sunrises, and sunsets,” said Andrew Paolano, a Queensbury resident who’s been coming since he was young.

“We come here like every year. I was very upset that it was canceled because of COVID, but I’m glad it’s back this year,” Emma Lewis said.

Sunday marking the end of a successful year, despite all the changes made because of COVID. Unlike year’s past, this year’s event did not feature vendors, a craft fair, or commercial flights. All balloons were also launched from the airport in Queensbury, while some have also launched in Glens Falls in the past.

“To have local officials, state officials, even federal officials involved has been quite the challenging process. But overall, it’s been so rewarding to get the event back,” Donahue explained.

And at the end of another year, some like Cole Contzius, are already looking ahead, “I can’t wait for next year to do this all again!”

Large crowds gathered at the airport throughout the weekend, with balloons successfully launching Saturday morning. Donahue says he also believes Saturday evening’s moonglow was the best the festival has ever had. In addition to weather concerns Sunday, launches were also called off Friday, the opening day of the festival, because of wind.

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