Saratoga Balloon and Craft Festival takes flight in Ballston Spa

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The burner of a hot air balloon sounds like a small jet engine right over your head. Once you call for some fire, you’re on your way up.

Sunday was the last day for the Balloon and Craft Festival at the Saratoga County Fair Grounds. Dozens of hot air balloons took flight, filling the sky with color.

Todd Monahan, the festival’s Balloon Meister, says hot air balloons can be difficult to control.

“We aren’t like airplanes, and say we are going to go here or go there. You can’t do that with a balloon we literally take the wind and utilize it to our benefit,” said Monahan.

Hot air balloons are considered aircrafts, so the balloons are flown by FAA licensed pilots.

Monahan says flights are normally scheduled for sunrise and close to sunset, because that’s when the winds are the calmest.

“It’s the visuals. it’s the clarity that you see, and the smiles that you put on people’s faces,” said Monahan. “Like today we had a group of 5 and there were three triplets that were celebrating their ninth birthday today.”

At some point though, you do have to come down, which can be tricky.

“Don’t be alarmed if you see balloons all around town,” said Monahan. “They’re always floating around to different spots.  You know, Hannaford lots, open fields; we’ll take anything.”

The Balloon and Craft Festival is also a great opportunity for local businesses to network. And also to make money.

“Well balloons, people are looking up in the sky. Obviously they need something to protect their eyes,” says Greg Antonakos, who was selling Polareyes Sunglasses at the event. “Yesterday we killed it!”

While some were selling their wares on the ground, the balloons were 5,000 feet over the ground, at the mercy of the wind.

“It’s magical. It’s old school technology; and then you are floating, like a cloud through the air. It’s really an amazing experience.”

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