From July 29th to July 31st, the New Jersey Lottery’s Festival of Ballooning is returning to Solberg Airport, located at 39 Thor Solberg Road in Readington, New Jersey. This is not only the largest summertime New Jersey hot air balloon festival, but according to the website, it’s also the largest hot air balloon festival in North America. 100 balloons will take flight for both morning (6:30AM) and evening (6:30PM) mass ascensions. The festival, which is separate from the balloon rides and requires independent admission, will also include music, amusement rides, family-friendly entertainment, food, and more. Read on to learn all about New Jersey’s Festival of Ballooning, happening in Readington, New Jersey from July 29th through July 31st.
All About the Festival + Hot Air Balloon Rides
The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning is an annual event that takes place every summer at Solberg Airport in Readington, New Jersey. This year, it’s running from July 29th to July 31st — and it’s apparently the largest summertime hot air balloon festival in all of North America.
According to the website, the balloon festival “holds the dual distinction of being a recipient of The New Jersey Governor’s Award for Best Special Event, as well as being designated multiple times as a Top 100 Festival in North America by the American Bus Association.”
Attendees have the option to ascend in one of 100 balloons in the mass ascensions, attend the festival, or do both. The first balloon mass ascension takes off on Friday evening, July 29th at 6:30PM. Saturday and Sunday will have both morning and evening rides at 6:30AM and 6:30PM. Prices range from $250 – $315 per person, depending on the time of day. The balloon rides are, of course, subject to change based on wind and weather.
These hot air balloon rides do not include admission to the festival, which is a separate ticket. General admission to the festival is $32 for adults, $12 for children, and free for children 3 and under. If you’re feeling fancy, there are also VIP ticketing options.
The festival will include music, family-friendly entertainment, amusement rides, food, and more — including getting to watch a ton of hot air balloons float through the sky. The full schedule of the weekend happenings can be found here. Some of the music will include tributes to Earth, Wind & Fire, as well as a Tim McGraw tribute. As for food, you can expect Italian sausage sandwiches, hamburgers, salads, smoothies, hot dogs, pizza, cheese steaks, fresh fruit, and more. And, of course, there will be Hot Air Balloon Funnel Cake. Be warned that coolers, bottles, and outside food are not allowed inside the festival — we know there’s nothing worse than having your favorite reusable water bottle taken away.
How to Get There
The festival is happening at Solberg Airport, located at 39 Thor Solberg Road in Readington, New Jersey. This is a rural area, so there unfortunately isn’t any public transportation available to access it. The best way to get there is by car, and the festival recommends carpooling with some friends and family to help limit the number of cars having to park. On-site parking is $10 per vehicle.
The drive takes about an hour from Essex County.