Get ready to look up—the biggest NJ balloon festival is back with the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning from July 29 through July 31 at Solberg Airport in Readington (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 kids’ fave Laurie Berkner and classics like Collective Soul, Todd Rundgren, and Kansas, lots of delish food, and plenty of fun. It’s the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America, 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 New Jersey Governor’s Award for Best Special Event and is designated among the Top 100 Festivals in North America. For your chance to see these colorful inflatables take flight, read on for the weekend’s lineup of festival fun. (featured photo taken at the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning)
Watch or ride in up to 100 unique hot air balloons taking flight
The fun starts are you approach the field, looking up and around you at the balloons ready to launch. The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning features up to 100 hot air balloons flying high above you, each boasting a distinct pattern and design, filling the sky with color. You can choose to stay seated on the lawn and watch (bring blankets and chairs to get comfy) — but if your FOMO is at an all-time high, you can also participate in a hot air balloon ride. Balloon rides start at 6:30 PM on Friday, 7/29, and at 6:30 AM and 6:30 PM on Saturday, 7/30, and Sunday, 7/31. The only catch? Tickets for balloon rides aren’t included with general admission, with prices ranging from $250 to $315 per person, depending on which day and time you’d like to ride. Children must 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 cannonballs, and fireworks. If you’re a fitness-loving fam, check out a free sunrise yoga session at 7 AM on 7/31. 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 Collective Soul and Kansas. On Sunday, July 31, you can participate in Running with the Balloons 5K, which goes right past the balloon launch area. All runners will receive admission to the festival, free parking, lawn seats to see Kansas, and access to both morning and evening hot air balloon ascensions.
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 on 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 to make your experience as magical and comfortable as possible.
For more information, visit the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning’s website, Facebook and Instagram.
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