BALLSTON SPA — Hot air balloons will take flight the weekend of June 20th and highlight the first ever Saratoga Balloon and Craft Festival.
The colorful and artistic event, run by Craftproducers, will be at the Saratoga Fair Grounds, starting Friday, June 20 and running through Sunday night, June 22.
In addition to the 20-plus hot air balloons with four liftoffs, there will also be a night of the Balloon Glow, or “Moon Glow.”
“At sunset, balloons will be lit so you can see the colors of the balloons against the darkness of the night sky,” said Saratoga County Fairgrounds General Manager Jeff Townsend.
The gathering of 15 hot air balloons inflating and coming to life at night amidst the Saratoga Fair Ground’s landscape will kick off the first night. If weather doesn’t allow for the Balloon Glow on Friday night, it will be moved to Saturday.
“It’s just one night this year for the first year event, so we hope for one night that will be busy,” said Craftproducers owner Tim Cianciola. “If it works well, then next year we will go two nights.”
Admission to the Balloon Glow is $5 for adults on top of the $10 general admission fee. Kids get in free.
On the other end of the spectrum, there will also be early morning balloon launches that rise with the sun on Sunday and Saturday, starting at 6 a.m.
The inaugural festival will also include a variety artists and artisans displaying their original works throughout the day, as well as live entertainment and music.
“They’ll have some morning launches on Saturday and Sunday, so it should be a spectacular event—also a lot of artisans,” Townsend said. “It’s not a typical buy-and- sell kind of event. It’s a lot of handmade and handcrafted items and they’re also going to be featuring New York State beers, wines and foods, so it should be a great weekend all the way around.”
From hand-thrown pottery to gold jewelry to contemporary furniture, there is scheduled to be over 100 artists and artisans expected to be at the event, according to the Saratoga Balloon and Craft Festival website (balloonandcraft.com).
Specialty foods like chocolate, wines, spirits, dressings and maple syrup will also be on hand, as well as demonstrations and project opportunities for craft and food building.
Both the artists and artisans works as well as a hand crafted food and beverage tent will be open from noon until 7 p.m. on Friday and throughout the weekend.
The family event will also include a wide array of activities for the kids. Whether it’s face painting, walking inside a half-inflated balloon, going to the petting zoo, or coloring a picture before it takes to the sky attached to a hot air balloon, the younger age group has plenty to do.
“We did a similar event last year in Shelbourne (Vermont) at the Shelbourne Museum and we overloaded the museum with the capacity the first year and they wouldn’t let us come back,” Cianciola said. “So we began looking around for other areas and we knew Saratoga is a great market, a lot more people. We’re going to have a lot of great food, entertainment, and the kids have a lot of activities.”
The balloon ride tent is open from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday, 5:30 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday, and 5:30 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sunday for anyone who wants to book a flight or buy a festival souvenir. Tethered balloon rides are also available for a fuller flight.
Rides can also be booked by going to the event website at balloonandcraft.com and clicking on “Launches & Rides” or calling (518) 798-0858.