July 28-30 2017

Solberg Airport - Readington, NJ


Countdown to Festival Fun!


Until the 2017
 Quick Chek New Jersey
Festival of Ballooning!



Purple Bee - Left
2016 Balloon Right 2

Balloon History

by Howard Freeman, Executive Producer, QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning

It started with flamboyant millionaire adventurer Malcolm Forbes, newspaper publisher Tom Curley, promoter Bill Lewis and friends bringing 10 balloons to the Union 76 truck stop in Bloomsbury, New Jersey for a weekend of ballooning in the summer of 1983.

This gathering would soon grow with Bill turning it into a festival. John Korff and I were looking to create a showcase event for New Jersey, met with Bill and took over the Festival in 1993. It only took a brief meeting with QuickChek for them to see the shared vision of a family oriented, community driven festival, and with their support we were able to add new components, such as live concerts and family attractions. We looked to bring in the biggest names in music, the coolest new special shaped balloons, and thanks to all of our corporate partners as well as all of you, we are now planning the 35th annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America. Or what we like to call the biggest party of the summer with 175,000 of our closest Balloonatic friends.
We are busy seeking new special-shaped balloons as well as bringing back some of your favorites, engaging concert headliners and their managers to see who is touring this summer, and scouring the country in search of hot attractions for this year’s Festival.
Howard Freeman,
Executive Producer
If there are any attractions that you are aware of that can add to the family friendly atmosphere of the festival, please email me at hfreeman@balloonfestival.com and I will personally respond to each and every recommendation. Thanks!
We look forward to celebrating 35 years of family fun and the magic of ballooning with you!
Gentle breezes and soft landings,
Howard Freeman
Executive Producer




Ballooning Now!
You can be part of history in 2017 when the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank celebrates its 35th anniversary, July 28-29-30 at Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ. Click here to learn more about the festival’s history and the history of ballooning!
The Festival wasn’t a festival when it started. Flamboyant millionaire adventurer Malcolm Forbes, newspaper publisher Tom Curley, Bill Lewis and friends brought 10 balloons to a local truck stop on Route 78 as a weekend gathering of balloon enthusiasts in 1983. 
Lewis grew that first get-together into an annual festival, attracting 40 balloons and 40,000 people over a 10-year period and moving it to Solberg Airport. Looking to take what had become the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning to the next level, he sold the event to Howard Freeman and John Korff in 1993, who were looking for a showcase event to build around the Garden State.
Experts in promoting live events, they brought in more balloons and more attractions with an emphasis on affordable family entertainment. Live concerts were added. 
Today, the 35th annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America. It is truly a must on anyone’s Summer list
of things to do --- more than 100 sport and special shaped hot air balloons will take to the skies twice each day in mass ascensions over the scenic Hunterdon County countryside. Upwards of 175,000 people and media outlets from around the world are expected at the Festival in 2017.
Look for future newsletters to learn more about the history of the Festival, our plans for our big 35th anniversary, and how you can be a part of our celebrating 35 years of affordable family fun including opportunities for you to go up, up and away on a magic carpet ride in the sky.


Ballooning Then: The History Of Balloon Flight!



The Montgolfier brothers, who owned a paper factory in France in the 1700s, became intrigued by a piece of paper that flew up a chimney under a roaring hearth one day. They began to experiment by filling a small silk bag with smoke and were thrilled as it floated to the ceiling. The Montgolfier brothers wanted to make the first manned flight in a hot air balloon. However, they had promised their father that they would never risk their lives by going up in a balloon. Although there were volunteers for the first manned flight, the balloon flight launched with only a duck, a rooster, and a sheep in the basket. This flight took place at Versailles on September 18, 1783 and was witnessed by King Louis XVI. The animals were unharmed during the eight minute flight.
Did you know?
Benjamin Franklin witnessed the first balloon flight in Paris in 1783 and was a signatory of the official report that went to the Academy of Sciences. The first balloon flight in North America was piloted by Jean-Pierre Blanchard on January 9, 1793.
The flight launched from Philadelphia, PA and landed in Deptford, NJ.
Balloons and Bubbly: Champagne?


Why is champagne closely associated with ballooning? The tradition dates back to the first balloon flight in France.  Early balloons were attacked by the landowners with stones, clubs, and pitchforks as they landed, since the landowners believed the balloons to be "fire-breathing monsters."  These early French aeronauts found that they could distract the landowners by offering them a glass of champagne.  While it is unlikely that today's landowners think of balloons as "fire-breathing monsters," pilots still offer a bottle of champagne to thank them for the use of their land.  A champagne toast also takes place after each balloon flight, along with the recitation of the Balloonists' Prayer.  
November 21, 1783:
The first recorded manned flight in a hot air balloon takes place in Paris on November 21, 1783.
Constructed from paper and silk by the Montgolfier brothers, this balloon was piloted on a 22- minute flight by Pilatre de Rozier and Marquis d’Arlandes, two noblemen from the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. 
They ascended from the center of Paris 500 feet above the rooftops before eventually landing miles away in a local vineyard.