Cambridge Balloon Festival Success Despite Weather

Editorial StaffFestivals, Hot Air BallooningLeave a Comment

The Cambridge Balloon festival took place the first weekend of this month, regardless of some windy weather. Large crowds were reported at the event throughout the entire weekend. The balloon festival took place in Cambridge, New York, just north of Albany, from Friday, June 2 through Sunday, June 4.

It was the festival’s 17th year.

Because of the weather, only two of the four planned launches were possible. Lisa Pembroke, the committee chair for the Cambridge Balloon Festival, was pleased with the turnout. “Turnout was great. We expected crowds to be down because we couldn’t mass launch from the Cambridge Center School, so the carnival and balloon launches couldn’t be together this year, but as it turns out everyone was thrilled,” Pembroke said. Pembroke said that the festival was unable to fly the balloons on both Friday and Saturday due to the windy weather.

“Luckily, we got a great morning for our last launch of the festival,” Pembroke said.

On Sunday morning at 5:30 a.m. the balloons were finally launched near the Cambridge Center School. Even though this was early, many joined to watch the balloons ascend into the sky. Many had cameras ready to take pictures of the balloons. Large crowds participated in the events of the festival, including a block party and a food and craft fair. It was the first year the balloon festival had a block party, equipped with music and food. It took place at Cambridge’s Railroad Park on the first night of the festival.

Because of construction this year, the events that were usually centered around the Cambridge Center School were moved to various locations. Organizers of the event said that they feared the different locations would result in smaller crowds. “The block party was a great success,” said Pembroke. “We threw that into this year’s schedule hoping to add to our festival in light of the fact that we were not able to be at the school, but it was so successful we think we’ll keep it.” Entry to the festival was free, but Pembroke said that she encourages people to support local shops and businesses.

“We definitely want to thank all of our sponsors and supporters, because they are the only way we can keep it free for the community,” said Pembroke.

“We always try to keep it interesting every year.” According to Pembroke, the festival’s turnout was higher than expected which is beneficial for the entire community, including the sponsors. “Businesses said they had a great year, and the streets were busy with people walking around on both Friday and Saturday,” Pembroke said. “We got two beautiful flights, so we’ve had a really successful weekend.” The event concluded with a “Pilot’s Breakfast” at the American Legion on Rt.22. According to the Cambridge Balloon festival’s website, the breakfast “is a great opportunity to meet the pilots and discuss the details of ballooning with the experts.”

The festival’s website listed nine different balloons and pilots for this year’s festival. Balloon names included: Friendship Too, Wild Ride, Divided Sky, Dakota and Break Time, Sparkles, The Balloon Formerly Known as Dark Star, Pinwheel, Light ‘N’ Up, and Happy Camper. Sponsors listed on the webpage were Glens Falls National Bank, Noble Ace Hardware, Fred’s Granville Pharmacy, Devine Properties, Green Bridge Communications, W.R. Coolidge & Co., Cambridge Valley Livestock Market and the McLenithan Family.

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