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Balloon Festival & Pnc Bank Help Local Children Grow Up Great

July 9, 2007

PRINCETON, NJ (June 26, 2007) — The Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning and PNC Bank brought a giant, 75-foot-tall hot air balloon to Farm View Fields Park in Princeton to promote PNC’s “Grow Up Great” school readiness program.
The programis the most comprehensive corporate-based school readiness program in the country, a 10-year, $100 million investment dedicated to help produce stronger, smarter, and healthier children, families and communities, preparing young children for school and life.
More than 40 pre-school children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old from the Princeton Nursery School enjoyed the unique opportunity to step inside a giant hot air balloon and experience the thrills and visual attractions this event offers as they go outdoors to study the world around them. Focusing on “active learning,” the Princeton Nursery School has provided a positive and supportive pre-school experience to meet the developmental needs of children since 1929.  
This walk-through event took place in Farm View Fields Park in Princeton, NJ and featured a giant hot air balloon which was inflated on its side and securely staked to the ground allowing Princeton Nursery School children to play inside. Festival executive producer Howard Freeman provided an age-appropriate lesson on the science of hot-air ballooning — giving kids a chance to “Grow Up Great!” — with Festival director and pilot Sally Mazzocchi providing the balloon.
“Princeton Nursery School is fortunate to have a community partner like PNC Bank,” said Deirdre McCarthy, the school’s executive director. “Through their ‘Grow Up Great’ program, PNC has been a financial supporter and a valuable resource to our school for many years. PNC has organized holiday toy drives, made improvements to our facility, and continues to allow its employees to spend quality time with the children. They truly understand the importance of building a strong educational foundation with pre-school children and are willing to make the investment in children’s lives.”
“PNC Grow Up Great is an unprecedented 10-year, $100 million investment, helping prepare young children, from birth to age five, for school and life,” said Joseph Whall, Director of Client & Community Relations, Office of the Regional President, PNC Bank, whose Grow Up Great program has awarded several million dollars to Head Start centers, non-profit early childhood organizations, and institutions of higher learning to enhance the quality of early care and education for disadvantaged children.
“PNC is particularly pleased to provide our financial support to the innovative pre-school programs of the Princeton Nursery School,” added Whall. “The school regularly provides hands-on learning experiences to their youngest children. And with the help of the Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in association with PNC Bank, those children begin to see the wonders of the world through the lens of science.”
“It’s all about the children, to see the joy in their faces when they get to play in the balloon,” said Freeman, who provided the balloon, one of the 125 hot air balloons scheduled to be at the Festival, and the lesson for the children as part of the Festival’s community outreach program. “We believe in doing well by doing good. We are thrilled to provide these great kids with a fun and exciting learning experience that they wouldn’t get anywhere else.”
The Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in association with PNC Bank is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America and is the premier family entertainment event in the Northeast. Upwards of 175,000 people are expected to attend the Festival’s 25th Silver Anniversary, July 27-28-29, 2007 at Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ.
Founded in 1929, the Princeton Nursery School is a small, private, non-profit educational child care facility that provides for the developmental needs of children between the ages of 2½ and 5, building on more than 75 years of tradition.
This was the second of two PNC Grow Up Great events to be conducted in New Jersey this year. The Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning and PNC held a similar walk-through balloon event for the Bergen Family Center in Englewood on May 22.