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The Force Awakens Early In New Jersey

July 16, 2015

DARTH VADER AND YODA AMONG 100 BALLOONS IN THE SKY READINGTON, NJ — You don’t have to wait until December for the Force to awaken. The 33rd annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank will feature special shaped balloons of Star Wars icons Darth Vader and Yoda at the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America. The three-day Festival, July 24-25-26, at Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ, features the awe-inspiring spectacle of 100 sport and special shaped hot air balloons from around the world taking to the skies over the scenic Hunterdon County countryside twice each day in mass ascensions. Named the No. 1 Thing to Do in New Jersey, it is one of the most popular family entertainment events in the state. The Darth Vader hot air balloon, a 3-dimensional replica of the Star Wars’ villain’s head, is a menacing 86 feet tall, 69 feet wide, 78 feet deep, and weighs 705 pounds. He’ll meet the 62-foot tall Master Yoda balloon, which is making its Festival debut, for supremacy of the skies. Title sponsor QuickChek stores is introducing a new signature balloon, a 121-foot-tall brightly colored seahorse. Other new shapes include Baby Blue, a giant blue whale; Baby Dino, a hatching baby dinosaur; and the kid-friendly, 85-foot-tall smiling Piko balloon from Quebec, Canada. Returning favorites include the 5-story tall PNC American Flag balloon, the largest free-flying flag in the world; the 110-foot-tall Unique Photo Panda; and an 80-foot-tall Pepsi football. Nearly 1,000 people will take a ride in a balloon at the Festival, crossing it off their bucket lists or using it to celebrate a special occasion or as a romantic way to propose! While the balloons are the stars, expect the biggest names in music, too. The Festival’s live concert series features classic American rock band Kansas; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and a former lead guitarist of the Eagles Don Felder; Disney Channel teen sensation Sabrina Carpenter from the TV series “Girl Meets World;” and Grammy Award winners Tedeschi Trucks Band who roll into the Festival as part of the Wheels of Soul 2015 Summer Tour with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and guitarist Doyle Bramhall II. The Festival offers 39 hours of affordable family entertainment including a nighttime balloon glow where balloons are lit up against the night sky like giant lanterns; a fireworks display; the JCP&L Family Fun Center featuring female human cannonball Jennifer “The Cannon Lady” Smith; children’s amusement rides; exciting interactive exhibits; and hundreds of crafters, food and craft beer vendors. Title sponsor QuickChek has a 2,700-square-foot air conditioned store on site serving up delicious food and beverages and is unveiling its new Q Café at the Festival. Hackensack University Health Network is sponsoring the on-site handicap parking area and senior courtesy shuttles to enhance the experience of elderly and physically disabled patrons who may be in need of assistance in getting around. Tickets are available at all 140 QuickChek store locations, by calling 1-800-HOT-AIR9 or online at www.balloonfestival.com.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Russ Mensch Mensch & Company, Inc. Public Relations & Event Marketing phone: 201-797-2448 email: [email protected]