One-hundred hot-air balloons of all shapes, sizes and colors will fill the sky above Hunterdon County on July 27-29 during the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, the largest event of its kind in the country. You’re in for an amazing air adventure at this year’s 36th annual event at the Solberg Airport in Readington.
North America’s first manned hot-air balloon flight touched down in southern Jersey 225 years ago. French aeronaut Jean-Pierre Blanchard piloted a yellow-silk balloon filled with hydrogen and landed in Deptford Township. Some local farmers were not happy.
At the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, you can get a birds-eye view of the Garden State during five lift-offs: Fri, 6:30 pm; Sat & Sun, 6:30 am & 6:30 pm. Sunrise and sunset are when winds are calmest.
Flights range from 20-45 minutes, weather-permitting. The entire ballooning experience takes two-three hours, including set up, the flight, pack up and the return trip.
Each balloon has a ground crew that “chases” the balloon in a vehicle. At the landing spot, the crew packs up the balloon and brings passengers back to the festival.
General admission to the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning is $12 for children ages 4-12 and $30 for adults. Hot-air balloon rides cost an additional $225-$250. Tethered rides, meaning the balloons are tied to vehicles with ropes, are also available for purchase on-site for $20 per person. These rides last about five minutes.
Back on the ground, enjoy performances from kiddie-rock artist Laurie Berkner (Friday, 1:30 pm), Andy Grammer (Friday, 8 pm), Lifehouse (Saturday, 8 pm) and Creedence Clearwater Revisited (Sunday, 3 pm). There will be a fireworks show at 9:30 pm on Friday, July 27. Two human cannonball shows, an aerial acrobatic show, a magician and amusement rides offer even more fun. On Sunday, festival goers can enjoy 7 am yoga and the Running with the Balloons 5K at 8 am.Click here to leave a comment