The very first hot air balloon inflated in Warren County was John Marsden’s “Punchinello”. At that time there was only a small number of pilots in the entire country. I had the pleasure of meeting John some years ago. While we were chatting he mentioned how he couldn’t decide what to do with his beloved balloon since it was no longer air worthy. To discard an old friend, a colorful envelope that had safely taken him into the air so many times, didn’t seem a fitting end. He used a few pieces of the fabric to make beanbags for some balloon races but it bothered him to cut it. Having the fabric stomped into the ground as a “walkabout” also didn’t seem suitable. Our conversation prompted me to start thinking about balloons we have seen through the years, wonderful mixes of colors and shapes joyfully drifting above the earth, but now gone. Luckily many pilots get new balloons and continue the yearly tradition of returning to Glens Falls, but for some, once the envelope fails inspection they stop flying altogether and move on to other things.
This painting was used as the official poster at the Adirondack Balloon Festival.