The Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank, the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America, celebrates its 30th festival July 27-28-29, 2012. The three day Festival at Solberg Airport in Readington in Hunterdon County features twice a day mass ascensions of more than 100 sport and special shaped hot air balloons from around the world, live concerts, and 39 hours of family entertainment and attractions. The largest event of its kind, the Festival offers affordable fun for the entire family and has been named one of the Top 100 Events in North America five times by the ABA and the No. 1 Thing to Do in New Jersey in 2012 by New Jersey Monthly magazine.
For the price of admission, Festival-goers receive: Unlimited daily access to the mass ascensions of more than 100 hot air balloons taking to the skies; lawn seating to concerts by Motown legend Smokey Robinson, ‘70s rocker Eddie Money, rock and reality TV star Bret Michaels, and teen sensations R5 featuring Ross Lynch from Disney’s #1 series Austin & Ally; fireworks; a nighttime hot air balloon glow where balloons are lit like lanterns; the Nerveless Nocks death-defying aerial thrill show; the opportunity to relax in the Quick Chek Hospitality Tent; interactive exhibits from leading consumer brands; and hundreds of arts and crafters and food vendors, many of whom will be giving out free samples and products when you stop by their booths.
Special shaped hot air balloons include a brand new balloon from Quick Chek – the Cosmic Q, a 115 foot tall astronaut making his first flight ever; the PNC American Flag, the world’s largest free-flying American Flag; an 86 foot tall replica of Darth Vader’s head from Star Wars; the 110 foot tall Unique Photo SnoBird tourist penguin; and a 110 foot tall Pepsi can. New special shapes include an 80 foot tall, bright pink elephant and a 12-story tall ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex. And no celebration would be complete without a cake: the Cake balloon is 80 feet tall, 71 feet round, with 12 foot high candles and five foot high flames and weighs a whopping 807 pounds!
The Festival also takes the 5K race to new heights with the 3rd annual Trinitas Regional Medical Center “Running with the Balloons” 5K race and Family Fun Run presented by Gatorade G Series, in which runners race through the Festival grounds with balloons overhead on Sunday morning, July 29. Hot air balloon rides are available (reservations suggested as rides sell out); please note that all balloon activity is wind and weather permitting.
The Festival’s Kid’s Club allows children ages 12 and under to get up-close-and-personal with 100 hot air balloons. Each member of the Kid’s Club will receive one children’s general admission ticket to the Festival and an invitation onto the launch field during one of the scheduled evening mass hot air balloon ascensions (when accompanied by one adult guest). Five lucky Bridgewater Commons Kid’s Club members will be chosen to be honorary Launch Directors (one per ascension) where they will be invited to the pre-launch pilot briefing and give the official launch directions to the pilots prior to lift-off!
The Festival offers a variety of advance ticket savings packages and special Kid’s Club tickets on a limited basis through midnight Thursday, July 26. Tickets are available at all Quick Chek store locations or by calling 973-882-5464, 1-800-HOT-AIR9 or online at www.balloonfestival.com. Additional values include on-site parking all three days beginning Friday for just $5 a day or attendees can park for free at nearby Raritan Valley Community College and take the Free Express Shuttle Bus to the Festival starting at 12 noon on Saturday and Sunday.