New Jersey balloon festival, postponed due to COVID, will take flight this fall

By Emily Bader
Readington | May 20, 2020 at 12:09 pm

The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning has been rescheduled over COVID-19 concerns, festival organizers announced on Wednesday.

The 38th annual summertime hot air ballon and music festival, in association with PNC Bank, was originally set for July 24-26 at the Solberg Airport in Readington, but will now be postponed until in the fall.

“The safety and well-being of our patrons, balloon pilots, concert headliners, partners, vendors, staff and the overall community, are our foremost concern,” Howard Freeman, festival executive producer, said. “While Gov. (Phil) Murphy hasn’t entirely lifted the public health emergency, we are hopeful we can come together in the fall to celebrate the magic of hot air ballooning and that the festival will be a part of the recovery and healing process.”

The event will now take place from October 16-18, setting up a new fall-like feel for the event for the first time.

“The fall foliage, cooler weather and beauty of the Hunterdon County countryside provide exciting opportunities to enjoy the festival in a new way this year,” said Freeman.

The three-day event offers affordable family entertainment, with up to 100 colorful balloons taking flight twice per day; a live concert series; a fireworks display; a nighttime hot air balloon glow; attractions; children’s amusement rides; a 5K race; interactive exhibits; experiential marketing experiences; and hundreds of vendors.

The festival has an economic impact of $52.4 million and has raised more than $3 million for local charities, nonprofits and children’s specialized hospitals.

An email was sent out detailing ticket deferral, exchange and refund options. Current ticket holders are able to use their tickets for the new dates.

Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | @emilybader