Hot air balloons take flight for Adirondack Balloon Festival's 45th year

QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - The Adirondack Balloon Festival is marking its 45th anniversary.

Some 150,000 people are expected to see the beautiful sights over the weekend. It’s grown to be the largest on the East Coast since it started, but Board of Directors Pres. Mark Donahue said they are different.

“This event is run strictly by volunteers and nobody gets a paycheck to put this on,” he said. “And the pilots know that this is an event that’s all about community, but it’s also about the balloonists as well.”

In fact, they have a waiting list of pilots who want to attend.

Some of the different shapes of the balloons this year include a turtle and a special balloon from the group Folds of Honor, which provides scholarships to the children of fallen and disabled service members.

“There’s 130 actual renditions of the children’s paintings,” Rite Aid District Manager John Fisher said of the Rite Aid balloon. “It’s basically what the children want to be – what their hopes and dreams are – to be when they grow up.”

It’s a unique way to promote a charity, Fisher said. And it’s also a unique place for a proposal.

Pilot Kimberly Field was getting ready for one Thursday night, and she said she’s never had someone say no.

“Hot air ballooning is very romantic,” she said. “You put yourself at the will of the wind. Our only way of steering is altitude, and what is more romantic if you don’t know where you’re going.”

But at least the weather will be fantastic.

“We expected fall weather, cool, but it is amazing, and the kids are enjoying it,” Gladys Pisarczyk, of New York City, said.

Around 100 balloons are expected to take flight over the weekend. Click here to see the schedule

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