Navigate the sky in a hot air balloon
[MORE: Your Ultimate Guide to Summer Fun in New Jersey]
Marvel as some 100 colorful hot air balloons float majestically in the sky, July 23-25, during the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning. Held at the 744-acre Solberg Airport in Readington, the festival, now in its 38th year, is the largest event of its kind in North America. Fancy a bird’s-eye view of the Hunterdon County countryside? Hop on, go up and down on the daily mass ascents at sunrise and sunset (takeoffs: Friday at 6.30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 6.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m.). For the apprehensive, tethered balloon rides are available. Keep your eyes peeled for shaped balloons including a unicorn, sloth and Unique Photo panda.
Back on dry land, you can enjoy performances by kiddie-rock star Laurie Berkner (Friday, 1:30 p.m.), Max Weinberg’s Jukebox (Friday, 8 p.m.), the Barenaked Ladies (Saturday, 8 p.m.) and Styx (Sunday, 3 after -midday). The awe-inspiring shows include a fireworks display on Friday night and Balloon Glow on Saturday night, a choreographed event where pilots detonate propane burners, making the balloons look like large fireflies. Human cannonball shows, magic shows and rides provide even more family fun. On Sunday, festival-goers can get active with yoga at 7 a.m., followed by the 5 km Running with the Balloons at 8 a.m.
Festival times: Friday, 1 pm-10pm; Saturday, 6 am-10pm; Sunday, 6 am-8pm. Admission: adults, $ 26- $ 40; children, $ 8 to $ 15. Balloon rides: $ 240 to $ 295; attached rides, $ 20. 973-882-5464.
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