Father’s Day Weekend, June 16-18, The Saratoga Balloon and Craft Festival, at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds, will kick off the summer festival season in the Capital Region. The area’s largest balloon launch, organized by Craftproducers, happens at 6AM and 6PM, and there will be a “balloon glow” on Friday at dusk when the balloons inflate creating a colorful, intensely magical illumination.
Each day is action packed. The Marketplace pavilion will house 100 artists, artisans, specialty food makers, and commercial vendors. There is a large variety of handcrafted items to choose from. New York State Wineries will sample, taste, and sell over 80 wines. Specialty food exhibitors will offer a wide range of sweet and savory products.
No Festival is complete without entertainment. The Stewart’s Scoop Shop’s Kids Zone offers face painting, interactive games, “make and take” craft section, pony rides, and a walkabout balloon. New this year are the Jersey Disc Devils, a highly skilled team of six dogs. They will strut their stuff on Saturday. Internationally known Murph, The Physical Comedian, will perform every day as will Kozmo The Magician, one of the best street magicians in the world. The entertainment pavilion will feature live music throughout the Festival.
An innovative food court will present tasty fare from food trucks and local restaurants. The menu is diverse and designed to satisfy even the most voracious appetite. Several New York craft beers will be served.
The Festival has a tradition of supporting non-profit organization. The Albany Boys and Girls Club will host The World Series of Wiffleball. The Regional Food Bank will sponsor A Taste of Summer, with local restaurants sampling “bites” from their menus. Both these events on Saturday are fundraising endeavors.
As Sunday June 19 is Father’s Day, the Festival will pay tribute to dads. The first 1,000 fathers accompanied by his child will be treated to a complimentary lunch: pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and pint of beer or nonalcoholic beverage. Vouchers for “dads free lunch” are available at the entry gate.
Friday, the gates open at 3PM and close after the Balloon Glow at dusk. The Saturday hours are 10-8 and Sunday 10-4 (no evening launch). Adult admission is $10 and kids are $5. (NO DOGS ALLOWED AT FAIRGROUNDS.) Purchasing advance tickets is highly recommended. Tickets and more information are available at www.balloonandcraft.com or by calling 518-480-7651.