DANSVILLE — Thousands of people descended upon Dansville over the weekend to watch a sky filled with colorful hot air balloons at the New York State Festival of Balloons.
For the 31st year, an estimated 30,000 spectators grabbed their cameras to watch more than 40 hot air balloons rise from the Dansville Municipal Airport and float over the surrounding valley. Balloonists from nine different states came to participate in the event, with some coming from as far as Arizona.
One of the largest festivals of its type, the event is organized exclusively of community volunteers. The festival was designated as a state festival 15 years ago, prior to which the Dansville Balloon Festival has occurred since 1981.
The festival scheduled six flights throughout the weekend which were twelve hours apart; however the first flight which was to occur Friday night at 6 was halted due to high winds. Festival activities kicked off Thursday, with a free balloon glow at 7 p.m.
Local arts and craft vendors were in attendance, as well as an international food court. Four live bands on Saturday and Sunday entertained guests and supplied free entertainment in the afternoon.
Due to the increasing and overwhelming popularity of the festival, profits from the festival are able to be shared with local charities and organizations.