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The Saratoga Balloon & BBQ Festival Lifts Off This Weekend

The festival runs from from June 21-23 and features 30 hot air balloons and 6 BBQ chefs.

Balloon & BBQ Festival
An evening balloon launch at the Saratoga Balloon & BBQ Festival. (Wolfgang Kurth)

What happens when you cross hot air balloons and the smell of barbecue on the grill? If you answered “flying hot dogs and hamburgers,” you’d only be slightly off base. This coming weekend spells 3, 2, 1…liftoff! for the Saratoga Balloon & BBQ Festival. Now in its sixth year, the festival kicks off on Friday, June 21, at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa and runs through Sunday, June 23. For balloonatics in attendance, every day of the festival will feature new balloon-related events, including lots of beautiful launches, balloon rides and even a “balloon glow” at dusk on Friday. In all, the festival will feature 30 hot air balloons to admire, and event-goers will also be able to take seven-minute helicopter rides over Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs for just $50 a person. Not a bad in-air add-on.

Aside from watching the sky fill up with balloons, there’ll be six chefs onsite grilling up delicious barbecue, with New Belgium craft beers on draft, as well as more than 75 marketplace exhibitors and vendors selling everything from handmade art, crafts, jewelry and other specialty items such as massage equipment. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Capital Region event without some great live entertainment, and this year’s festival doesn’t disappoint. Look forward to the Real McCoy Stunt Comedy Show on Friday and Saturday, with lots of live music from groups such as Rocky and the Moose Knuckles and local jazz/funk favorites Oobleck (plus performances every day by Sean the Prankster Magician). Tickets can be purchased online, and for a full schedule of events, click here.

For the rest of the week and weekend’s events, take a look at saratoga living‘s hand-curated calendar below. This week, we’re including events outside of Saratoga and the Capital Region—as far south as New York City. Hey, nothing beats a train ride along the Hudson for a fun weekend in the Big Apple, right?

Monday

Enjoy the ARCC Spring Golf Tournament at the beautiful Glens Falls Country Club (June 17)

Tuesday

The inimitable Dead & Company are coming to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) at 7pm. Also, don’t miss the afterparty with Steal Your Peach Band at Putnam Place (June 18)

As part of the Saratoga Jewish Cultural Festival, Saratoga Chabad is screening Refusenik, a documentary that chronicles the struggles of Soviet Jews trying to immigrate to Israel (June 18)

Wednesday

SPAC on Stage series is bringing Spanish singer Buika and her all-female group to the Spa City (June 19)

Scotia’s Freedom Park Summer Concert Series kicks off with a free show of big jazz band music and more (June 19)

Running every Wednesday, all summer long, is Take a Bite, a family-friendly food event offering small plates ($1 to $5) in Downtown Glens Falls (every Wednesday until August 14)

Thursday

Celebrate LGBTQ Pride at Caffè Lena with multi-instrumentalist and singer Erin Mckeown and opener Crystal Rose (June 20)

After a $10 million renovation, Yaddo Mansion in Saratoga reopens with a special performance by indie artist (and one-time Yaddo veteran) Mike Doughty for its Yaddo Summer Benefit (June 20)

Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro is performing at The Egg in Albany (June 20)

Catch Elizabeth Streb and Anne Bogart’s work in progress, FALLING & LOVING, at Skidmore College’s Tang Teaching Museum—performed by Streb Extreme Dance Company and SITI Company (June 20)

Attend a masterclass at The College of St. Rose with Ricky Ian Gordon, composer of Ellen West, which is having its world premiere at Opera Saratoga later this month (June 20)

Catch Espæce, a charming, new piece of physical theater involving a giant movable wall and five performance artists, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (June 20-22)

The Albany Police and Fire Foundation Community is throwing a free Community Block Party (VIP reception available for purchase) at Albany’s Times Union Center (June 20)

Tennesee Williams’ classic play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is running all weekend at Proctors in Schenectady (June 20-June 23)

Friday

Celebrate the ’60s at the Saratoga Automobile Museum’s Annual Summer Gala (June 21)

Presented by Nine Pin Cidery, catch a Summer Solstice Sunset Cruise at Dutch Apple Cruises & Tours in Albany (June 21)

Celebrate the world’s finest sakes (Japan’s deliciously smooth rice wine) with The Joy of Sake at Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan (June 21)

Hailed as the “greatest guitarist in the world” by Eric Clapton, guitar legend Albert Lee is coming to The Strand Theatre in Hudson Falls (June 21)

Get your feet stomping at the Queens Youth Music Festival at Citi Field Stadium in Queens (June 21)

Catch Dope Jam Back 2 Back, featuring Cyn Santana at Putnam Place in Saratoga (June 21)

Don’t miss the NYC Hip Hop vs. Reggae Summer Kickoff Yacht Party at the Skyport Marina in Manhattan (June 21)

Come out to Shepard Park in Lake George Village to check out (and buy!) plenty of crafts and unique handmade items at the Lake George Fire Department Craft Show (June 21-23)

Saturday

Join the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame for a tour of Old Tavern Farm by Saratoga Lake (June 22)

Double H Ranch is celebrating its Annual Gala at the Great Escape—Six Flags in Queensbury (June 22)

Legendary Motown singer Diana Ross is performing at the Radio City Music Hall in Midtown Manhattan (June 22)

Don’t miss Joan Osborne Sings the Songs of Bob Dylan at The Egg in Albany (June 22)

Attend the opening reception of a new exhibition Merce Cunningham: Passing Time at the historic Hudson Hall in Hudson (June 22)

’90s alt-rockers Everclear are coming to the Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady (June 22)

Coney Island Brewery and Coney Island USA are proud to present the 37th Annual Mermaid Parade on Surf Avenue in Brooklyn (June 22)

Enjoy the 2019 Round Lake Antiques Festival right on the Village Greens in Round Lake (June 22-23)

Take in a little midsummer magic and solstice history with Garden Day at The Met Cloisters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan (June 22)

Sunday

The Saratoga Automobile Museum is throwing its Porsche Club of America Car Show (June 23)

Catch the 11th Annual Jewish Women’s Gala “Body Challenged, Soul Redeemed” at Hyatt Place in Malta (June 23)

Iconic singer-songwriter Jackson Browne is returning to the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan to play four shows (June 23, 24, 26 and 28)

Country legends Travis Tritt and the Charlie Daniels Band will be performing at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls (June 23)

Make room for the Summer Fancy Food Show, the largest single specialty food industry event in North America, at the Javits Center in Manhattan (June 23)

Savor a night of delicious Italian food in Saratoga with Forno Bistro’s Corks & Cuisine Wine and Food Tasting (June 23)

Joan Kelsey’s Silver Lining is performing at Pitney Meadows Community Farm as part of Caffè Lena’s Farm to Folk concert series (June 23)

Jeff Dingler
Jeff Dingler

Jeff Dingler is saratoga living's Senior Writer. He's a graduate of Skidmore College and a professional musician.

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