New Jersey Festival of Ballooning

New Jersey Festival of Ballooning
The New Jersey Festival of Ballooning is one of the biggest and best known hot air balloon festivals in the United States. It is held in Readington Township, New Jersey every July. The festival features about 125 balloons, music concerts, fireworks, vendors and crafters, and more, attracting around 200,000 attendees each year.

The New Jersey Festival of Ballooning was founded in 1983 by Bill Lewis, who brought about 10 hot air balloons to the Union 76 Truck Stop on Interstate 78 in New Jersey. Two years later, the festival moved to Soldberg-Hunterdon Airport in Readington Township where it has been held every year since. From 1993 to 2019, the festival’s title sponsor was Quick Check, a New Jersey based chain of convenience stores. As of 2020, its title sponsor was the New Jersey Lottery.

The New Jersey Festival of Ballooning is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America. The festival hosts around 125 sport and special shape hot air balloons. Balloon-related events at the festival includes mass ascensions held in the morning and in the evening weather permitting, spectacular night glows, balloon rides, and more.

The New Jersey Festival of Ballooning prides itself on hosting the newest and most exciting special shaped balloons. For example, 2017 special shaped hot air balloons included the Three Little Bees (Joey, Lolly and Joelly), Sir Baconator, The Birthday Cake, PNC Bank Salutes America, Simba the Lion, Super FMG, and the Unique Photo Panda.

Since 2000, the festival has hosted major concerts to stand out from other hot air balloon festivals. Headliners have included renowned musicians and bands such as The Beach Boys, Hall & Oates, The Doobie Brothers, Foreigner, Styx, KC & the Sunshine Band, Jonas Brothers, and others. The festival’s music program includes three featured concerts, supporting acts, and special concerts.

Other entertainment at the festival includes Running with the Balloons 5K Cross-Road Challenge, yoga & Jazzercise, amusement rides, fireworks, family entertainment, the Quick Chek hospitality tent, various performers, food and merchandise vendors, and more.

Ballooning is a weather sensitive activity, and the NJ Festival of Ballooning used to hold an unusual ritual believed to have originated in Singapore to ensure good weather. A virgin was hired to drive a golf cart to each of the four corners of the festival site. At each corner, she would pick up several blades of grass, mumble random words, then penetrate whole peppers and onions with knives and jam the knives with the vegetables into the ground.

New Jersey Festival of Ballooning title=

Photo: anthony johnson




Related Articles