February 27, 2014
READINGTON, NJ – The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank is once again inviting New Jersey students in grades 2 through 12 to take part in the 11th annual PNC Bank American Patriot Essay Contest by writing a short essay on the topic “What the American Flag Means to Me.”
The Grand Prize winner will receive a visit to his or her school by a gigantic, 75-foot-tall hot air balloon in June and a special VIP package at this year’s balloon festival in July: a hot air balloon ride for two, four Blue Sky Club VIP tickets, and the opportunity to meet one of this year’s concert headliners, which in the past have included Demi Lovato, the Jonas Brothers and Disney sensations R5 featuring Ross Lynch.
The winning student’s immediate classmates will each receive one complimentary general admission ticket to the 32nd annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank, the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America, July 25-26-27, 2014 at Solberg Airport in Readington.
The winning student’s teacher and school principal will each receive two Blue Sky Club VIP tickets. Second and third place prizes consisting of Festival admission and merchandise will be also awarded.
All teachers in the state who submit a group of 15 essays or more on behalf of their students will receive two free general admission tickets to the Festival regardless of whether one of their students submits the winning essay.
“We especially want to thank all of the educators who find the time to encourage their students to enter this contest,” said Festival Executive Producer Howard Freeman.
“Every year we receive heartwarming essays about how special the American Flag is, whether it’s about the flag as a symbol of strength during Hurricane Sandy or relatives who have served in the military or families who have immigrated here for a better way of life,” added Freeman.
"No storm can ever overcome the proud, enduring spirit that the young people of New Jersey continue to display, year-after-year, in our American Patriot Essay contest," said Joseph Whall, PNC Senior Vice President & Director of Client and Community Relations.
The essays must be 100 words or less. They will be judged by a panel of representatives from PNC Bank and the balloon festival. Winning essays will be selected based on creativity, poignancy and clarity with consideration given to the grade level of the contestant. Contestants are not required to be U.S. citizens.
Entries should be submitted by May 2, 2014 to Essay Judges, Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, 363 Route 46 West, Suite 200, Fairfield, NJ, 07004. Students can also enter the contest through the Festival website at www.balloonfestival.com or by emailing their essays to [email protected]. Entries should include the student’s name, home or school address, home or school telephone number, grade, age, school name and the name of their teacher.