02/01/2018 3:01 PM
READINGTON, NJ --- A giant hot air balloon creates a sense of awe and wonder. For the 17th consecutive year, the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning and PNC Bank will be bringing this magic of ballooning to children and families alike throughout the state.
Pre-Festival events begin this month with an annual essay contest and run through the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America, which will take place July 27-28-29 at Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ.
“We are thrilled to continue to work with PNC in bringing the Festival into our communities,” said Festival Executive Producer Howard Freeman. “We enjoy creating exciting promotions and adding new components that enable PNC to consistently deliver their message while providing unique experiences each and every year to people of all ages.”
“We are delighted to renew our sponsorship with the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank for another three years. The Festival allows us to connect with our customers --- and those we would love to have as customers --- in an upbeat atmosphere of fun, food, music and hot air balloons,” said Joe Whall, PNC Senior Vice President and Director of Client & Community Relations.
“Events we have in the months leading up to the Festival give us the chance to introduce the science of ballooning to preschoolers; give students in elementary, middle and high school the chance to express their patriotism through the PNC American Patriot Essay Contest; and give hundreds of thousands of people the chance to see the glorious PNC Bank American Flag balloon through a televised special event,” added Whall. “It’s just a very neat sponsorship that we have been proud to do since 2002.”
“The American flag balloon was created right after 9/11 and branded the ‘PNC Salutes America’ balloon,” said Freeman. “It is the world’s largest free-flying American flag. We inflated it for the first time on Flag Day 2002 and it was tremendously received. We then paired it with the QuickChek American Eagle balloon at the Festival and each time the Eagle and the Flag took flight to ‘God Bless America,’ tens of thousands of people stood and applauded.”
The Festival and PNC Bank will once again raise the 53 foot tall, 78 foot wide and 29 foot deep balloon on June 14 to launch the nation’s Flag Day celebrations. It will then take flight at the Festival in July.
To help introduce children to PNC Bank and encourage their love of country, the PNC Bank “American Patriot Essay Contest” was created in year two of the sponsorship. Thousands of school children in grades 2-12 across the state write about “What the American Flag Means to Me” each year with the winner receiving a truly “grand” prize --- a ride in a hot air balloon at his or her school in June and again at the Festival in July.
PNC Bank’s “Grow Up Great” school readiness program provides hundreds of pre-school children in inner cities from Newark to Trenton with the opportunity to learn about the world around them by exploring a balloon in person. These cold-inflated balloon events take place each May and June.
In 2017, these community events took place across the state in Hoboken (Hudson County), Wayne (Passaic County), Princeton (Mercer County) and Union (Union County).
PNC Bank will once again present one of this year’s main concert headliners, offer children’s interactive activities in the PNC Grow Up Great Mobile Learning Center, and provide Festival attendees with convenient access to on-site ATMs.
For tickets and additional information visit www.balloonfestival.com.
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