The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank has been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, current New Jersey State health guidelines, and protocols limiting the size of outdoor crowd gatherings.
The 38th edition of the annual summer event is now scheduled for July 23–25, 2021.
“Today, after careful consideration, we have made the extremely difficult decision to suspend this year’s efforts to hold the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank. We are heartbroken for the thousands of people who were looking forward to this year’s festival, one which brings our community and our state together every summer to celebrate the magic of ballooning,” said Festival Executive Producer Howard Freeman.
“The health and safety of our attendees, hot air balloon pilots, crew, performers, sponsors, vendors, volunteers and staff has been and will always be our top priority,” said Freeman. “We hoped that when we decided in the spring to move this year’s festival from July to mid-October, the festival would provide a welcome relief and help us heal from this crisis. But at this point, there are too many variables out of our control and we must remain steadfast in upholding our commitment to safety first.”
“We are extremely proud of how New Jersey has come together to fight the COVID-19 virus, while serving as an example for the rest of the nation,” added Freeman. “However, as Governor Murphy has only authorized mass gatherings of up to 500 people at this time, the reasonable and responsible thing to do is to come back bigger and better next year.”
It will be the first time since 1983 that the festival will not take place.
First held then as a gathering of local hot air balloon enthusiasts, the festival grew into and remains the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America.
The annual three-day event at Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ, fills the skies with the awe-inspiring spectacle of up to 100 colorful balloons taking flight twice each day, features a popular live concert series, a nighttime hot air balloon glow, fireworks, affordable family entertainment and more. Upwards of 165,000 people attend each year.
“We will now move ahead with planning next year’s festival in its normal summer time slot and looking forward to brighter skies ahead when our community and all of our balloonatic friends can safely be together,” said Freeman.
This is the first year of the New Jersey Lottery’s title sponsorship as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Lottery and the balloon festival are excited about flying in 2021, the future, and continuing to give back to their communities. The festival has raised more than $3 million to benefit local charities, non-profit organizations and children’s specialized hospitals.
Ticket holders will be able to use their admission tickets, hot air balloon rides, Blue Sky Club Memberships, etc. at the 2021 festival. On Tuesday, August 4 everyone who has purchased tickets will receive an email detailing the deferral/exchange/refund options. No further action is required by ticket purchasers until they receive that email.
For additional information visit www.balloonfestival.com.