Festival celebrates 45 years, treats locals

ADIRONDACK BALLOON FESTIVAL TOOK people to new heights to fundraise for aviation education and celebrate 45 years of hot air fanfare at Warren County Airport.

The Adirondack Balloon Festival celebrated its 45th anniversary from September 21 to 24, 2017, bringing upwards of 50,000 people over four days to the Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport in Queensbury, New York. The festival is a not-for-profit event run strictly by volunteers, that rely on sponsors and the local community for support and advertisement.

Throughout the years, the event has attracted pilots from all over the world, including cities like Saga, Japan, and Quebec, Canada. The event has received media coverage from Food Network, The Weather Channel, Associated Press, and The New York Times. The festival was initially held at Adirondack Community College, now known as SUNY Adirondack. As the event grew, a larger venue was needed which led to the current location, the Warren County Airport.

The festival was founded by Walter Grishkot who brought the idea the Warren County’s tourism and publicity office in the early 1970’s after a balloonist, John Marsden, from Manchester, Vermont shared photos of his balloon. The office of tourism and publicity was looking for an event idea that would bring tourism to the region after Labor Day. At the time, there were relatively few hot air balloons in the nation, but the idea took off and the Adirondack Balloon Festival was born shortly after.

The festival has strived to keep the event free of charge, which is very rare for an event of its size. Funding would not be possible without the continued support of enthusiasts, the community, and volunteers.

Apart from bringing a unique event and great memories to thousands, a memorial foundation was created after the death of Grishkot in 2011. The foundation raises funds to promote interest in education in aviation and aerospace sciences. You can visit to support the scholarship fund.