Balloon Festival announces postponement until 2021

    The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank has been postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it announced Monday.

    The Readington festival, which had initially been scheduled for late July, then postponed until October, will now be held July 23-25, 2021, it said in a news release.

    “Today, after careful consideration, we have made the extremely difficult decision to suspend this year’s efforts to hold the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank,” Executive Producer Howard Freeman said in a prepared statement. “We are heartbroken for the thousands of people who were looking forward to this year’s festival, one which brings our community and our state together every summer to celebrate the magic of ballooning.”

    Freeman cited Gov. Phil Murphy’s guidelines for outdoor gatherings — which allow for a maximum of 500 people — as a major reason for the decision. The three-day festival draws upward of 165,000 people each year.

    “The reasonable and responsible thing to do is to come back bigger and better next year,” he said.

    This is the first year since its 1983 creation that the festival will not take place. It was also to be the first year of the New Jersey Lottery’s title sponsorship.

    Ticketholders will be able to use their admissions, memberships and other tickets next year, the festival said.