NEW JERSEY – For those looking for thrills on the cheap this summer, the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning may be the perfect place to let all your stress melt away.
North America’s largest summer balloon and music festival, returning to Solberg Airport in Readington for the 39th time, will take place July 29-31 this year.
For just $12 to $15 per child or $32 to $40 per adult, Jersey locals can get general admission to see 100 hot air balloons soar through the air, all while listening to live music and bands.
Alternatively, for those looking for aerial views of the festival, you can book a hot air balloon ride, which costs between $250 and $315, depending on the Herald of New Jersey.
New special-shaped balloons this year include Billy The Kid, a flying saucer, a Tazmanian devil, an alien rocket and a tiger.
The iconic ball remains the 135-foot-tall New Jersey Lottery Sunny Days, which is shaped like a giant sun. Visitors can also expect to see returning favorites like the 110-foot-tall Unique Photo panda, the 80-foot-tall Pepsi soccer ball and a pink unicorn.
The main stage headliner at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, July 29 will be Laurie Berkner, a popular children’s musical artist. It will be followed by rock band Collective Soul that night at 8 p.m.
Saturday night, Todd Rundgeren — a musical artist and producer known for hits like “Hello It’s Me” and “I Saw The Light” — will headline at 8 p.m. Kansas will then wrap up the weekend’s headlines at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 31.
Festival headliners include the Beach Boys, Third Eye Blind, Jonas Bothers and Demi Lovato.
Concert lawn seats are included with every ticket, and festival-goers can choose from three stages. Reserved seating for all concerts requires additional purchase.
The Cash Pop Summer Stage will also feature eight tribute bands this year, including Minikiss – a tribute band made up of little people who were featured in the Super Bowl – as well as bands honoring the Spice Girls, Meatloaf, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bruce Springsteen.
Weather permitting, hot air balloon rides are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, 6:30 a.m. Saturday and 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
The festival also partners with Dellano’s Food Service to serve delicious festival food. The offerings will include Italian sausage sandwiches, cheesesteaks, burgers, hot dogs, pizza, salads and more.
For those looking to enjoy the balloons from afar, the festival will also host a 5K race on a variety of surfaces including pavement, gravel, dirt road and grass. Nearly 1,000 runners take part in the race which passes right in front of the balloon launch area and ends in the heart of the festival.
All runners will also receive a full day festival pass. Learn more here.
Other attractions will include fireworks, a hot air balloon night glow, rides and a human cannonball.
This year, human cannonball David “The Bullet” Smith, Jr., who is the “starting gun” for the 5K race, will attempt to set a world record by being the first human cannonball to make a scratch ticket in the air. Anything he wins will be shared with a member of the public.
Winnings can be up to $10,000, according to the New Jersey Herald.
Additionally, at Lottery Land – a component of the 18+ festival that was added last year – other lottery-themed features will also be in play.