Countdown to festival fun:

Essay Contest Winners Announced

June 6, 2007

Nearly 1,000 Entries Received from Around New Jersey
READINGTON, NJ – Shaina Cohen, a third-grade student from Yavneh Academy in Paramus, has been selected as the grand prize winner of the fourth annual “PNC Bank American Patriot Essay Contest.” A 75-foot-tall hot-air balloon will visit the school Monday, June 18, with Howard Freeman, executive producer of the 25th annual Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in association with PNC Bank, providing students with a lesson on the science of hot air ballooning. In addition, Cohen, a native of Fair Lawn, will receive a free ride in a hot air balloon during the 25th annual Festival in Readington, July 27-28-29, 2007.
As part of its community outreach efforts through its association with the Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America, PNC Bank asked New Jersey students in grades 2-12 to submit an essay on “What the American Flag Means to Me.” Cohen’s essay was one of the nearly 1,000 received from school children throughout the state. The winners were chosen by a panel of judges comprised of PNC Bank and Balloon Festival staff.
“The American flag has long inspired artists and educators, and we are delighted to learn what it means to young people again this year,” said Joseph Whall, Director of Client and Community Relations in the Office of the Regional President at PNC Bank. “We are pleased to continue our commitment to education
through this contest as part of our sponsorship of the American Flag balloon and the Quick Chek New
Jersey Festival of Ballooning.”
“The response to this contest has been overwhelming, not only by the number of entries we receive each year but by the heartwarming essays that are written,” said Freeman, who noted many positive comments
made by teachers about the contest. “It was very hard to pick only one winner. The contest gave students
the opportunity to uniquely express their patriotism. The PNC Bank American Flag balloon continues to be
one of the Festival’s most popular attractions.”
Cohen’s submission is as follows:
What the American Flag Means to Me
by Shaina Cohen
“To me it is Liberty for all, freedom for all. I know I am not alone when I see my flag from the road because every road leads me home. The flag means justice and that all should live in peace, it means god watches down on America, and that no one can take our freedom from us, because we fought for it and now we own it! It means America has pride, good fortune, and of course, beauty! When I am scared I look up, there the American flag is standing right over me to give me strength and confidence.”
Cohen and a friend will also get a free ride in a hot air balloon during the Saturday, July 28 morning
ascension at the Festival. She will also receive four Blue Sky Club tickets offering VIP amenities such as
premium seating for balloon ascensions, balloon glows and concerts.
Second place was awarded to Carolyn Delaney, a second-grader from the Washington School in Summit. She will receive a family four-pack of two adults and two children’s tickets to the annual Festival plus four Festival color printed T-shirts. Jonah Lucas, a seventh grade student at Hope Township School in Hope, was awarded third place and will receive four tickets to the Festival.
Launched in 1983, the Quick Check New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in association with PNC Bank is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America and the premier family
entertainment event in the Northeast, attracting upwards of 175,000 people and worldwide media coverage.
The Festival features fireworks, a balloon glow, live musical performances, amusement rides, hundreds of
arts & crafts and food vendors, and up to 125 hot air balloons.
PNC Bank is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC), one of the nation’s
largest diversified financial services organizations providing consumer and business banking; specialized
services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and
asset-based lending; wealth management; asset management and global fund services.
For further information about the 25th annual Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning including
tickets, call 1-800-HOT-AIR-9 (1-800-468-2479) or visit www.balloonfestival.com
Media Contact:
Russ Mensch
Mensch & Company, Inc.