After a two-year hiatus, the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning is back (cue the applause). And this year’s festival is gearing up as one of the best, with those highly-anticipated hot air balloons, concerts for the fam with big names like kids’ fave Laurie Berkner and classics like Barenaked Ladies and STYX, lots of delish food, and plenty of fun. It’s the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America, from July 23 through July 25 at Solberg Airport in Readington, and it’s a must on our summer bucket list. With all the stunning, soaring sights this tradition has to offer, it’s easy to see why the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning has earned sparkly titles like The #1 Thing to Do in New Jersey and is ranked among the Top 50 Festivals in North America. Ready to see the colorful inflatables take flight? Scroll down for this weekend’s lineup of festival fun.
featured photo credit @tcampbell210
Watch or ride in 100 unique hot air balloons taking flight
Mamas, get those lawn chairs and comforters ready for some sky-gazing that will have your littles in awe! The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning features 100 hot air balloons that take flight right above you, each one boasting a distinct pattern and design, filling the sky up with color. You can choose to stay seated on the lawn and watch — but if your FOMO is at an all-time high, you can participate in a hot air balloon ride as well. Balloon rides start at 6:30 PM on Friday, 7/23, and at 6:30 AM and 6:30 PM on Saturday, 7/24, and Sunday, 7/25. The only catch? Tickets for balloon rides aren’t included with general admission, with prices ranging from $240 to $295 per person, depending on which day and time you’d like to ride. Children have to be at least 42 inches tall to go up in a balloon.
Non-stop festival fun for the entire family
If heights aren’t your thing, there’s plenty more entertainment happening at the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are all filled with scheduled events for families. Thrill-seekers will love the amusement ride area, and little kids will marvel at the magic shows, human cannonball, and fireworks. If you’re a fitness-loving fam, check out a free sunrise yoga session at 7 AM on 7/25. On opening day, littles will love jamming to kiddie-rock fave Laurie Berkner, and throughout the weekend, plan to listen to other local and big-name entertainment like Barenaked Ladies and STYX.
What to know before you go
General admission tickets are good for one full day at the festival and include lawn seating for concerts and a magnificent view of the balloons. Tickets are $40 for adults, $15 for children (ages 4-12), and free for kiddos under three when purchased the day of the festival.
You’ll want to bring plenty of cash for the food vendors and pack sunscreen for those intense July sun rays. It’s also a good idea to pack lawn chairs and blankets for the hot air balloon viewing so that you can make your experience as magical and comfortable as possible.