New York State Features Buoyant Festivals for Groups


Outdoor festivals can be experienced in all corners of New York state and at all times of the year. They offer groups an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the areas—and have a lot of fun doing so!

Here’s a summary of three of the main annual festivals in The Empire State.

Groups visiting the eastern New York city of Albany in early May can experience Albany Tulip Festival, featuring annual traditions rooted in the city’s rich Dutch heritage. Taking place during Mother’s Day weekend, the event boasts nearly 100 artisans selling their handmade crafts, delicious food, two stages of world-class live entertainment and more than 140,000 tulips in 150 different varieties.

Girls in authentic Dutch costumes kick off the festival each year with the traditional scrubbing of State Street, and the Tulip Festival takes place in historic, 81-acre Washington Park.

A free event that takes place in mid-September, Adirondack Balloon Festival in Queensbury, about a one-hour drive north from Albany, features stunning hot-air balloons floating high above the majestic Adirondack Mountains. The main events of the festival take place Saturday and Sunday at Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport (GFL), while the opening ceremonies take place at Crandall Park in Glens Falls on Thursday and include live music, food vendors and the flight of up to 20 hot-air balloons. VIP parking passes are available for groups.

The annual Utica Zoo Wine in the Wilderness is a one-day festival that takes place in early June at Utica Zoo, which is a 55-minute drive east from Syracuse. Groups can sample New York state wines while gazing at the eclectic animals that call Utica Zoo their home. Guests can try wine slushies from Ashley Lynn Winery or switch to draft beer samples from Saranac Brewery. Live music, light snacks, and a wide variety of vendors are among the other highlights. All ticket proceeds benefit the Utica Zoo.

Read more in Megan McDermott’s story, “Connecting to Nature: Groups Love Outdoor Experiences in One of the Most Scenic States,” in the April issue of Smart Meetings.