» General Festival Questions

    Why are the balloon ascensions at such unusual times - 6:30 a.m & 6:30 p.m?

    It is the safest to launch hot air balloons when the surface winds are less than 6-8 mph.  Therefore, ascensions are at the two times during the day when winds are calmest - one hour after sunrise, and one hour prior to sunset.  As the sun heats up the atmosphere, it creates breezes, otherwise known as "thermals."  Therefore, the best time to launch the balloons is while the air is still cool, or cooling down.

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    Can I bring a tent and/or an umbrella?

    Tents are not allowed.  Umbrellas are allowed but we would like you to be wary of your neighbors, please don't block their view.  If our staff sees that you are blocking other peoples view during the ascensions, we reserve the right to ask you to take it down for that time period or move you to the side away from the crowd so everyone can have a great view of the balloons or other events that might be going on around you.

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    Is the festival handicap accessible?

    As with all special events and festivals, The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning reserves areas closest to the festival admission gates for vehicles displaying the proper handicapped parking tags. (Please make sure these tags are clearly visible, so police and parking personnel can direct you to the proper parking area.)

    The main pedestrian thoroughfares (the airport’s runway and taxiway) are paved surfaces, and easily traversed by wheelchairs, people with walkers, etc. However, please be aware that there are a number of important attractions (the balloon launch area, corporate hospitality village, family fun center, etc.) which can only be reached by traveling over stretches of grassy fields. If the ground is saturated with rain, it can make the going a little bit slow.

    Sorry, the festival does not offer wheelchair or cart rental. There are a limited number of “customer service” golf carts which are available to transport patrons to the parking lots from various points throughout the festival grounds. The main parking lots are outfitted with “Patron Trolleys” designed to help get people back to their vehicles.

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    What are my camping options?

    While you cannot camp on the festival grounds, there are camping options nearby.  Click here for more information.

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    When is the best time to come to the festival?

    While there is non-stop family entertainment throughout each day of the festival, if you want to see balloons, the best time to come is early in the morning to watch the 6:30 am ascension or in the mid-afternoon to watch the 6:30 pm ascension.   Traffic tends to build up around 4:30 pm on Saturday, so to avoid traffic, plan to arrive a bit earlier.  You will have time to walk the festival grounds, enjoy the crafters and vendors, and even take in some of our entertainment before watching the balloons.

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    Do you know of any hotels in the area?

    We are proud to have a list of preferred hotels of the festival.  Each hotel offers discounted rates for festival patrons.  Please visit our  hotel accomodations page  to book your reservation or call us at 1-800-HOT-AIR-9. 

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    Are there parking options other than Solberg Airport?

    The festival offers the convenience of 80 plus acres of on-site parking. 

    In addition, on Saturday and Sunday from noon until close, Free Express Shuttle Buses will run continuously between the festival and nearby Raritan Valley Community College.  For directions to the on-site and remote parking areas, visit the Directions page.  Unfortunately, there is no mass transit (buses or trains) that goes directly to Solberg Airport.

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    Can I bring a cooler with food and beverage into the festival?

    Coolers, bottles and food are not permitted on the festival grounds for safety reasons.  The festival provides an assortment of unique foods at our concessionaire stands and in the QuickChek tent.

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    Can I bring a pet into the festival?

    Only service animals (defined below) are allowed on festival grounds. If your pet is not a service animal, please make arrangements to leave your beloved pets at home during your trip to the festival.

    Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

    This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.

    Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney general’s office.

    http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

     

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    What is a Balloon Glow?

    The signature event at a hot air balloon festival, the balloon glow has been compared to Christmas in July or flickering Japanese lanterns.  At predetermined signals, the pilots blast the propane burners, which releases a burst of fire into the balloon.  The balloons "glow" like huge fireflies, a truly magical scene, and one not to be missed! The balloon glow occurs during the Saturday evening concert beginning at sundown.

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    Do I have to buy Blue Sky Club membership in order to see the concert?

    No.  Although the Blue Sky Club provides a seat in the reserved concert seating section, a general admission ticket allows you to see and hear the concert from outside the seating section.  It is similar to lawn seating at any outdoor amphitheatre, such as the PNC Arts Center.

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    Can I take a balloon ride?

    Absolutely. A hot air balloon ride is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Perhaps the most awe-inspiring experience is floating along in a balloon surrounded by 125 other spectacularly-colored aircraft. Might we suggest taking a ride during the morning ascension?  A sunrise balloon ride is truly magical.  The early wake-up call is well worth the trouble. For more information, click here.

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    How close can I get to the balloons?

    While the FAA mandates that we fence in the balloon launch area for safety purposes, you can easily secure a prime viewing spot along the 1,800 foot flight line to view these magnificent and colorful balloons. Attending the morning ascensions on both Saturday and Sunday, enables you to get the best, unobstructed view.

    The most comfortable and closest view of the massive balloon launch is in our VIP area, the Blue Sky Club.  Blue Sky Club Membership offers an array of exclusive benefits that give you first-class treatment.  Otherwise, the balloons are visible from anywhere within the festival grounds.  If you want to be up close and personal, the festival offers balloon rides and tethered balloon rides.

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    What goes on at the festival other than watching the balloons?

    The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning is "more than hot air" because it offers a wide variety of entertainment.  There is truly something for everyone!  From colorful hot air balloons ascending twice daily to 3 headline concerts, to world-class children's entertainment, to hundred's of arts & crafters, to food vendors from around the world, fireworks, balloon glows and more, to amusement rides, we guarantee non-stop entertainment for the enitre family!   Visit our Detailed Schedule for a complete list of entertainment.

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    How do I get to the festival using public transportation?

    Click HERE to go to NJ Transit’s trip planner. Enter the destination address 39 Thor Solberg Rd. Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889. The closest train stations to the festival are Whitehouse Station, North Branch, and Raritan. ***You will need to call ahead to arrange for a cab or car service to deliver you from the train station you arrive at to the festival. It will be a 3-5 mile ride.

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