JULY 23-25, 2021

Solberg Airport - Readington, NJ 973 882 5464

Countdown to Festival Fun


Until the 2020
 Quick Chek New Jersey
Festival of Ballooning!



Participating Pilots

The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning 

Participating Pilots for 2020

If you are a pilot and want to fly at this year's festival, please email Kristin Vincent at

[email protected] and request an application.

To see our 2019 Participating Pilots, click here.


Jurassic Journey - Tracy Leaver

Balloon Name: Jurassic Journey
Pilot: Tracy Leaver
Hometown: Pittstown, NJ

1.               What is your full-time job?

Director Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, a wildlife rehabilitation facility for orphaned and injured wild animals.

2.         Where/when was your first balloon ride as a passenger, and how did that influence your decision to become a pilot?

My first flight as crew was in Hunterdon County, NJ. 1980’s. Love at first flight and never looked back.

3.         Favorite part about being a balloon pilot?

Sharing the experience with others. And that each flight is a new experience.

4.         What are your hobbies other than ballooning?

Playing in the dirt!

5.         Where is your favorite place to fly? Why?

Hunterdon County NJ. It is the visual reason why NJ is called the Garden State. It is such a beautiful flying area over streams, fields, rivers, rolling hills and sprawling neighborhoods.

6.         What’s the name of your balloon and story behind it?

Jurassic Journey. My balloon was custom designed as an homage to the Jurassic Park movie. It has four dinosaurs on a sunset landscape.

7.         Where is the most interesting place that you landed or most interesting experience that you had after you landed?

Everywhere I  land is interesting!

8.         Have you had any unique engagements that happened at the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning or during private flights?

I had one where the person asking instead on waiting until the very end of the flight, right before landing. He wanted her to enjoy the flight and knew she would be uncontrollable if he asked sooner. It was a little tricky to pull off and thank goodness it was very slow wind. But, he was right! I’m not sure she has calmed down yet. She did say yes!

9.         What incentives do you provide in order to wrangle crew during your normal flights?

The experience is #1. Fly them whenever I can. Take care of them when at out of town festivals. Little extra things whenever I can to show appreciation.

10.       Do you have any unique traditions pre-and/or post flight?

Nothing unique but everyone does enjoy writing in our Guest Book post flight.

11.        How long have you flown at the 38th Annual New Jersey Festival of Ballooning?

Off and on since the beginning but constantly for the past 12-15 years I believe.

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2019 Participating Pilots

The Birthday Cake

MS Mindshift - Bennett Schwontkowski

Garden Spot Village -Stan Hess

PNC Bank - Sunburst - Michael (Mike) Hernandez

QuickChek - Tracer - Wendell Purvis

Singha - Apiradee Thonusi

Wonder Bread - Chris & Amanda Sabia

QuickChek - Hemisphered Dancer - Marian Deeney

QuickChek - "B" Happy - Kenneth (Kenny) Shumate

RE/MAX - Evolution- Robert (Bob) Mueller

Sunrise - Thomas (Tim) Strand

Autumn Above - Scott Griswold

Third Life Crisis - Nicholas (Nick) Mazzocchi

Butterball - Dariush (Dar) Farzad

Spellbound Spirit III - Randy Lee

Sunrise - Todd Monahan

Last Penny - William (Bill) Colyer

Rainbow with a View - Richard (Rich) Hamilton

Going My Way - Dick and MaryBeth Young

Ron Burgundy - Dariush (Dar) Farzad

Glory Days - Neal Blackwell

Captain America - Mark Johnson

Bigger Green - James (Jim) O'Brien

Mystical Breeze - Joel & David Berka

Black Diamond - Tony DiCocco

Last One - Joseph (Joe Sr.) & Beth Hamilton

Smile High - Anthony (Tony) Sica

Tailwinds - Patrick Smith

A-Rising-Star - Charles Blair

Heads Up - Nancy Beck

Private Eye Too - Scott Kelley

Serenity-Richard Hughes

Windswept - Matthew Lidinsky

Freedom Flyer - Mark Fritze

Carolina Twist-Anthony Seeger

Jurassic Journey - Tracy Leaver

Sunrise Passion - Andre Boucher

Dreamworks - Emelia Bernava

Sir Prize - Kenneth "Ken" Leota

Blue Dragon - Jack Edling