07/24/2006 7:30 AM
Whether it’s up in the sky or on the ground, there’s something for everyone at the 24th annual Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, July 28-29-30 at Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ.
This annual event is North America’s largest summertime hot air balloon festival and is the premier family entertainment event in the Garden State, attracting more than 150,000 people each year. The three-day, jam-packed Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in association with PNC Bank features up to 125 hot air balloons and offers morning-through-night family entertainment, including fireworks, live musical entertainment, children’s amusement rides, and hundreds of arts and crafts booths and food vendors.
“It can be said that there’s too much entertainment for families to see,” said Howard Freeman, Executive Producer of the Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning. “The average family stay is seven-and-a-half hours. We put together great family shows like Kachunga & The Alligator, the Purina Incredible Dog Team, magic shows, and this year we’ve added the Kids’ WB! Crash the Backlot Tour! These are just a handful of the many attractions we offer, in addition to our great concerts and of course the balloons.”
Kachunga & The Alligator Show continues to captivate audiences as Kachunga wrestles a ferocious alligator. The mystique of these giant reptiles is in itself a big draw, now imagine the thrill of watching as man pit his strength and agility against 9 feet and 300 pounds of lashing tail and gnashing jaws in a dangerous dance of reflexes and cunning. These shows, which take place at the Family Fun Area, are slated for 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Friday, 9:30 a.m., 12:00 noon, 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Saturday; and 9:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, and 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, are educational, funny and safe to view.
The Purina® Incredible Dog Team performs extraordinary acrobatic tricks in the Family Fun Area with their amazing freestyle routines set to music, including back-flips, headstands, back-vaults, and jumping nearly 15 feet in the air to snare a flying disc. The team offers crowds of all ages a chance to watch precision dog training at its best on Friday at 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.; Saturday at 9:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m.; and Sunday 9:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
New to the Festival this year is the Kids’ WB! Crash the Backlot Tour!, where kids get a backstage pass to enter the world of Warner Bros. animation and “crash” the Kids WB! Backlot. There they’ll get a behind-the-scenes preview of the latest Kids WB! espisodes and shows and get in on the action and excitement of WB animation and voice-overs! The non-stop center stage activity will keep kids rockin’ and rollin’ as they engage in group activities, meets Kids WB! characters, and play games! The Kids WB! Crash the Backlot Tour! runs throughout the day in the Family Fun Area, starting at 2:00 pm. on Friday and 9:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The Marriott Hotels Fireworks Extravaganza is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Friday night. The New Jersey Office of Travel & Tourism Balloon Glow lights up the Festival grounds Saturday night at 9:00 p.m. Up to 125 hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes will re-inflate, remain attached to their tether ropes, and the pilots will release a burst of fire into the balloon so they light up like giant fireflies. Both the fireworks and the balloon glow take place in the Balloon Launch Area.
Festival hours are Friday, July 28, from 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Saturday, July 29, from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; and Sunday, July 30, from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $17 for adults and $7 for children 54 inches and under at all Quick Chek stores in New Jersey from June 1 through July 27. Children age 3 and under are admitted free. Tickets are $20 at the gate for adults, $10 for children 54” and under, and free for children 3 and under. Tickets can be ordered by calling toll free 1-800-HOT-AIR-9 or online by clicking here.
Solberg Airport is accessible from Interstates 78 and 287 and Routes 22, 202 and 206. Parking is available on site for $5 or there is a free shuttle bus service from Raritan Valley Community College.