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New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning
Every year in the United States, there are about 1,200 to 1,500 hot air balloon events that take place. One of these is located in New Jersey at Solberg Airport just east of Readington Township near Whitehouse Station.
Solberg Airport is home to the largest weekend event of its kind in North America. The “New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning” takes place in late June, early July every year. The event draws hundreds of thousands of spectators from all over the world who come to watch dozens of hot air balloons launch into the sky, accompanied by music and throngs of excited people.
The festival is held at Solberg Airport which is located in between Readington and Whitehouse Townships, New Jersey. The airport is owned by the Solberg Family who have been in the business of aviation for more than sixty years. The family has made it their mission to expand the airport to accommodate larger events such as the Lottery Festival of Ballooning.
The annual festival began in 1991 after Jim Petro, the Governor of New Jersey at the time, took part in a hot air balloon ride. When Petro was asked what he wanted for his inauguration ceremony he said “balloons.” The inaugural launch gathered about twenty balloons which flew over South Brunswick that day.
Since that first launch the event has grown into one of the largest. In 2010, more than 150 hot air balloons took to the sky. There were over five hundred vendors set up in booths, thirteen stages, and dozens of entertainers who performed for spectators each day of the festival.
The event draws many famous people throughout the world including politicians, television personalities, sports stars, musicians, authors and more. Some celebrities who have attended include John McEnroe, Jennifer Lopez, Susan Sarandon, Robert DeNiro, Diane Sawyer, Andy Cohen and Donald Trump.
Many of the celebrities are passengers in the hot air balloons during the festival. They come to see the famous Hot Air Balloon Glow event at dusk on Friday night when dozens of balloons light up with colorful lights while music plays in the background.
The festival is always held during the last full weekend of June and runs from Friday to Sunday each year. The event begins around 10:00 a.m. on both days, with balloons launching between 11:00 a.m. To 7:30 p.m. each day depending on weather conditions and wind speeds at the time.
In 2008, the event was cancelled due to a lack of wind and high winds from 2008-2010 caused cancellations as well. In 2010, popular New York City radio personality Scott Shannon emceed the events that were held over the weekend with entertainment from several different bands, including American Idol’s Scotty McCreery.
The festival also includes several food vendors, various rides for children like inflatable bounce houses and slides, as well as many different exhibitor booths throughout the site. Tickets can be purchased in advance at a reduced price or at the gate on the day of the event. The tickets include entry into the festival grounds and entrance to watch balloons launch from the ground.
What time is the balloon festival in New Jersey?
The Lottery Festival of Ballooning is usually held over the last weekend in June at Solberg Airport near Whitehouse Station. For information on dates and times, visit the festival website.
Where is the balloon festival in New Jersey today?
The festival is held at Solberg Airport in Readington Township near Whitehouse Station. For location information, visit the airport’s website or check out the map below.
How many balloons are in the NJ Balloon Festival?
The festival often hosts over 130 different balloons.
How much is a hot air balloon ride NJ?
The cost of a hot air balloon ride at the festival ranges from $195 to $695 per person.
How long is the hot air balloon ride?
A hot air balloon ride is typically around 45 minutes.
Why is the balloon festival in New Jersey called the Lottery Festival of Ballooning?
The event was originally held as an opportunity to promote the New Jersey Lottery and raise money for charity. Today, it is still sponsored by the New Jersey Lottery and all proceeds still go to charity.
Are hot air balloons safe?
The balloon festival website states that “the balloons are absolutely the safest form of powered flight in history. Since the first gas bag was inflated in 1783, modern balloons have never killed anyone.”
How long has there been a hot air balloon festival in New Jersey?
The first Balloon Festival of New Jersey was held at Cherry Hill in 1980. The event moved to Solberg Airport in 1989 and has been hosted there every year since.
Who is the founder of the New Jersey Hot Air Balloon Festival?
Barry Gordon is the founder and chairman of the festival as well as president and chief executive officer of North American Family Enterprises, which owns and operates more than 100 family entertainment centers across the nation.