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41st Adirondack Balloon Festival

SOUTH GLENS FALLS -- It's the oldest and largest balloon event on the east coast.

The 41st Adirondack Balloon Festival will kick off on Thursday decorating the skies over Crandall Park.

"It's become a way of life for this community, it adds to our quality of life," says Mark Donahue, balloon festival organizer.

For the next four days hundreds of colors and shapes will light up the sky from dusk until dawn, drawing in high-flying excitement from around the world.

"We have balloons coming from across the country," says Donahue. "From Nevada, Alabama, even Canada, just amazing places."

The first time Donahue set eyes on this event he was two-years-old.

"This has become a way of life for my whole family. We started traveling to balloon festivals when I was in elementary school. I had my first balloon ride at the age of 10. I was learning to fly balloons before I learned how to drive a car," says Donahue.

The event is known for drawing in tourist and generating business for the local communities.

"The economic impact is astounding. To find a hotel in this region over the course of this weekend will  be difficult. If you want to eat out, you better pack your patience," Donahue adds.

Over 150,000 people are expected to show.

"It's such a beautiful event and because people can come they can come free and enjoy the beauty of the whole thing," says balloon festival volunteer, Joe Schwerman.

"It's become a family tradition for my family. It started with my kids, and now we're bringing their kids, my grand-children to the event. They love it," says balloon festival volunteer, Pam Benkoski.

A tradition that continues to leave its mark on the local communities and even the nation.

The first launch is set for Thursday, September 19th at 5:15 p.m.

Funding for the not for profit organization is raised strictly by volunteers.

The Adirondack Balloon Festival is open and free to the public.

For more information, click here.
 
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