Did You Know Glens Falls, New York Has a Sister City… in Japan?
Well, this is random.
Recently I found myself on the Wikipedia page for Glens Falls, New York. I was looking up the notable people from the area when right underneath that section was a section that said "Sister Cities -- Saga, Japan."
Was this a typo? Some sort of glitch in the Wikipedia algorithm? Not at all. Turns out, Saga, Japan actually *is* a sister city of Glens Falls.
BUT... WHY? AND HOW?
Glens Falls is a small city near Lake George, in Warren County, New York. It has a population of just under 15,000 residents. Saga, Japan has a population more than 15 times that size, at around 232,736. That number is actually higher than all the residents in Warren County combined... roughly 65,618.
So what exactly do these two cities on different sides of the globe have in common?
No, not the the spy kind. The hot air kind.
2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the Adirondack Balloon Festival, which sees dozens of hot air balloons take flight over scenic Adirondack Park. Similarly, Japan hosts its own Saga International Balloon Fiesta every year.
In 1986, a Glens Falls balloon team was invited to experience Saga's festival. The event left a tremendously positive impression on the crew members who attended.
Milly Koh, of the Sister Cities Committee of Glens Falls & Warren County, said:
I thought it would be such a good idea, for us to have a relationship with Japan, and open up our area to international programs... I talked to the mayor [Mayor Frank O’Keefe, who served from 1986-’93] and he proposed becoming sister cities with Saga City.
In 1998, Japan sent envoys to Glens Falls to officially sign the Sister Cities relationship agreement.
Koh said the relationship has helped bring more cultural awareness to Glens Falls. It has also opened the door for an exchange student program. Since 1990, more than 600 junior high and high school students have exchanged between the United States and Japan as part of the sister cities program.
ADIRONDACK BALLOON FESTIVAL'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY
The event will take place September 21-24, 2023 at Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport. More information can be found here.
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