The 40th annual New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning

by Dyquan Waters
new jersey lottery festival of ballooning

A local favorite, New Jersey Lottery’s Balloon Festival is back for its 40th year in action.

Open from July 28 to 30, at the Solberg Airport of Readington, NJ, the 2023 festival will offer views of over 100 eccentric hot air balloons, propelled by propane-fueled burners, which send warm air throughout the balloons, causing them to float.

If you’d like to see for yourself, the festival hosts tethered balloon rides that last for about 5 minutes, these start at 20 dollars. If you’re willing to splurge, they also offer full balloon rides, lasting for about 20 to 45 minutes. Operated by an FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) licensed hot air balloon pilot, this will run you anywhere from $275 to $350.

New Jersey balloon Festival

Photo courtesy of NJFOB

Heralded as the largest summertime hot air balloon festival in North America, this event will showcase several hot air balloons in whimsical shapes and various sizes. This festival also features live music, food, and small business tabling, enticing adults and young people alike.

Presenting sounds by KC and The Sunshine Band, Fitz and the Tantrums, Everclear, Lit, and Laurie Berkner, this event is open for family-wide fun.

Garnering up to 165,000 attendees, with about 3,500 daredevils who will take a ride in a hot air balloon at the festival, this event will be off the wall for the residents of New Jersey and visitors alike.

Weather permitting, gates open at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, July 28. For you early birds out there, festival gates will open bright and early at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, (July 29 and 30). On Friday and Saturday, they’ll be hangin’ out until 10:00 p.m., whereas, on Sunday, they’ll pack up around 8:00 p.m.

If you want to catch the balloons being ascended, the festival will put them up at 6:30 p.m. every day of the weekend and at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. More details on permitted items, festival times, and what to expect are available on their site.

Hot air balloons ascending

Photo courtesy of NJFOB

Standing at 65 feet tall and weighing a whopping 750 pounds is the New Jersey Lottery’s enormous bright pink Lucky Pig, making its debut at the festival. Among it will also be a pair of 110-foot-tall bumblebees who hold hands and kiss in mid-flight, an 80-foot-tall, 70-foot-wide old-fashioned alarm clock, and an astounding 70-foot-tall replica of the inaugural hot air balloon flight complete with a sheep, a duck, and a rooster, the very first hot air balloon passengers.

Tickets are $28 for adults, $10 for kids aged 4-12, and the little ones aged 0-3 are admitted for free. General admission includes access to the spectators’ lawn and the aforementioned entertainment performances. As admission does not include seating, you might want to bring a few pop-up chairs. Don’t wait to buy your tickets! Box office prices skyrocket on the day of, starting at $40 for adults and $15 for kids. General admission is only valid for one day and tickets can be purchased here.

About the Author/s

Editorial Intern | All posts

Dyquan Waters is an Editorial Intern at New Jersey Digest who loves cooking plant-based meals and going camping. When he's not watering his plants, Dyquan enjoys brewing his own tea.

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