Balloon Frenzy

Colorful hot air balloons will soon fill the skies in New Jersey. You can choose to view the world from the basket of a balloon as you soar across the land, or simply attend one of the state’s festivals and enjoy the thrill of seeing a variety of colors and shapes of balloons floating above.

The annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning takes places place the last weekend in July at the Solberg Airport in Readington. The largest summer hot air balloon and music festival in North America. Other accolades include a recipient of The New Jersey Governor's Award for Best Special Event and other major awards including the American Bus Association's designation as a Top 100 Festival in North America.

The twice-a-day mass ascensions of more than 100 balloons from around the world in different shapes, colors and sizes are just the start of the happenings, which continue with a concert series, amusement rides, hundreds of crafters and vendors, food, fireworks and a 5k run.

Spanning a week, the Hot Air Balloon Festival at the Warren County Farmers’ Fair pairs a balloon festival with a county fair at the end of July. Excitement in the air takes place with up to 40 hot air balloon launches each evening at 6:30 pm. Visitors can take a balloon ride or opt for a tethered balloon ride to just give it a try. Hare & Hound Races and a Bicycle Balloon Race are part of the balloon fest fun. The county fair has a long list of other events to enjoy including entertainment, contests, kids’ area, horse and car shows, food and demolition derby.

If you can’t make it to either of these two big balloon festivals, you can still soar above with one of New Jersey’s ballooning companies. Sunrise and sunset set the stage for especially beautiful balloon rides in the sky and they are often paired with a champagne toast to make it even more special. Choices of ballooning companies in Phillipsburg include Ballonatics & Aeronuts and Have Balloon Will Travel. Or visit Hunterdon Ballooning located in Flemington.