News Department

New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning: 11 things you need to know before you go

READINGTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (Hunterdon County) – Before heading out to the 38th Annual New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning at Soldberg Airport in Readington Township, which starts this Friday, July 23 and runs through Sunday, July 25, here is what you need to know.

Buy your tickets in advance. General Admission tickets are good for any one of the festival. All general admission tickets are print at home. Adult general admission is $32. Tickets for children ages 4 to 12 are $12, and all general admission tickets include lawn seating for concerts. These ticket prices are an early bird saver and prices subject to change without notice. Children 3 and under are free. Important Note:  All 2020 Festival Tickets: If you have purchased general admission tickets, hot air balloon rides, Blue Sky Club Memberships or Sunrise Breakfast Tickets, you may keep and use them at the 2021 festival.

What is the best time for watching the balloons? The balloon ascensions take place on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m..

Want to ride in a hot air balloon? Balloon rides at the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning are $240 per person in the morning, $275 per person in the evening on Friday and Sunday, and $295 per person in the evening on Saturday. Sorry, no children’s discounts.  Beware: taking a balloon ride may induce “love at first flight.” Tethered rides allow you to get a small taste of ballooning without leaving the festival grounds.  These balloons are tied to vehicles with tether ropes about 50-75 feet in length.  When you get into the basket, the balloon goes up until the ropes are fully extended and then returns to the ground.  The ride lasts about 5 minutes and can take place any time during the day as long as the winds are calm.  This is a great way to start your day at the festival as it allows you to see the whole thing at once!  You can purchase tethered rides on-site only for $20 a person. The price is the same for both children and adults. Children can ride in the tethered balloon as long as a guardian signs a waiver.

What about parking? The festival offers the convenience of 80 plus acres of on-site parking. As you get closer to the festival, please follow all posted signs and directional signage. Following posted signs will greatly expedite you arriving at the correct parking lot. $10.00 on-site parking in their Carvana parking lot. Parking fee is per vehicle, not per person. Unfortunately, there is no mass transit (buses or trains) that goes directly to Solberg Airport.

What else is there to do? The festival offers hundreds of vendors offering arts and crafts. For night-time entertainment check out the fireworks on Friday at 9:30 p.m. and the unique balloon glow during the concert on Saturday at 9:00 p.m., and Sunday the Running with the Balloons 5K at 8:00 a.m.

How about for the kids? Children’s entertainment includes amusement rides and magic shows. Friday Kids’ Concert at 1:30 p.m. with Laurie Berkner.

Don’t forget the concerts every day. Max Weinberg’s Jukebox on Friday at 6:00 p.m., Barenaked Ladies on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and STYX on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Check out the festival’s schedule of events for more information.

What should you bring? For the lawn concerts, festival organizers suggest you bring a blanket or lawn chairs, but tents are not allowed. Only service animals are allowed on festival grounds. If your pet is not a service animal, make arrangements to leave your beloved pets at home during your trip to the festival.

What is there to eat? The festival provides an assortment of unique foods at our concessionaire stands. Coolers, bottles and food are not permitted on the festival grounds for safety reasons.

Keep in mind, the weather. The festival’s organizers can’t control the weather and its safety first. There are no refunds for tickets purchased to the festival, so plan accordingly.

COVID-19 Update. Free vaccinations will be given on-site at the festival, courtesy of the NJ Department of Health, Wegmans Pharmacy and Hunterdon Medical Center. Get vaccinated on-site at the Balloon Festival and receive special admission discounts.

Vaccination operating hours during The Balloon Festival:

  • Friday, July 23:  1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 24:  8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 25:  8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.  and 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

Related Articles

Back to top button