The Quick Check Festival of Ballooning in Readington, NJ has gone around the world and then some to present the newest and best special shaped balloons this year with balloons from four countries and one galaxy far, far away!
The QuickChek Seahorse - "Q" the Seahorse - is our new signature balloon. This magnificent 121-foot-tall brightly colored seahorse, which will take its first ever flights at the Festival, was designed by Luiz Paulo of Brazil. Twelve stories tall, the balloon occupies 105,000 cubic feet when fully inflated. A marine enthusiast, Paulo adjusted some of the dimensions of a real seahorse such as the size of the tail to those required for a hot air balloon to take flight. He chose the red, orange and yellow colors, along with a blue snorkel and mask, to draw attention in contrast against the blue Hunterdon County sky.
Star Wars fans wont have to wait until December as the Force awakens early in New Jersey. The villainous Darth Vader balloon returns to the Festival for the fourth time. The jet black balloon is 86 feet tall, 69 feet wide, 78 feet deep, measures 106,000 cubic feet when fully inflated, and weighs 705 pounds.
Approved by Lucasfilm, the balloon was created in 2007 by Benoit and Michel Lambert of Brussels, Belgium to show off their artistic talents as hot air balloonists as well as their love for all things Star Wars. They continue their passion this year with their new Master Yoda balloon. This bright green 62-foot-tall Jedi will be making his Festival and East Coast debuts.
Also new this year: Baby Blue, a giant blue whale; Baby Dino, a hatching baby dinosaur; and the kid-friendly, 85-foot-tall smiling Piko balloon from Quebec, Canada.
Returning favorites include the PNC American Flag balloon, the worlds largest free-flying flag; the 110-foot-tall adorable Unique Photo Panda, and the 80-foot-tall Pepsi football. To see pictures of other featured balloon shapes go to http://balloonfestival.com/balloons/shapes/.
The Festival offers 39 hours of affordable family entertainment including a nighttime balloon glow where balloons are inflated and lit up while tethered on the ground; a fireworks display; death-defying acts by female human cannonball Jennifer “The Cannon Lady” Smith; the Advil® Running with the Balloons 5K Cross-Road Challenge and Family Fun Run; children’s amusement rides; exciting interactive exhibits and hundreds of crafters and food vendors.
The Festival has been named one of the Top 100 Events in North America six times and selected as the No. 1 Thing to Do in New Jersey. Upwards of 165,000 people are expected to enjoy the magic of ballooning this summer.
Parking is available on site or patrons may take the Free Express Shuttle Bus from Raritan Valley Community College starting at 12 noon on Saturday and Sunday.
33rd annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank
The Largest Summertime Hot Air Balloon & Music Festival in North America
100 balloons, 165,000 attendees
July 24-25-26, 2015
Solberg Airport, Readington, NJ
973-882-5464 or 1-800-HOT-AIR9
Adults: $20-$35; Children ages 4-12: $8-$15; Children ages 3 and under: free
Blue Sky Club VIP: $59-$125
General admission includes lawn seating to concerts
Featured image caption: Photo courtesy of Russ Mensch of Mensch & Company, Inc., Public Relations & Event Marketing. Go here for more balloon shapes: http://balloonfestival.com/balloons/shapes/