The Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning Returns to NJ July 25-27, 2014

Get your cameras ready! An incredible event is taking place in NJ this Friday through Sunday July 25-27, 2014. This year’s QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning is the 32nd annual running of the event, and it’s happening at Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ from Fri. July 25 to Sunday, July 27, 2014. The photo opportunities at the festival are always incredible, and it looks like the weather will be perfect for the Friday balloon ascensions at 6:30am (Open to members with press passes, photographers and photo club members). There are also planned morning and afternoon balloon ascensions on Saturday and a planned morning ascension Sunday. I write “planned” because all ascensions are weather permitting. I plan to be there bright and early on Friday morning (and possibly on other days) taking photos with many other pro and amateur photographers and videographers.

There are also a lot of family-friendly events during the day, including a “Famous Movie Cars Exhibit,” rides for kids, and juggling/magic shows. And there are a LOT of food options, including many food trucks and a “pop-up” QuickChek store. The bands that they have lined up, including America (8pm on Friday), Three Doors Down (8pm on Saturday), and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (3pm on Sunday) look pretty amazing as well. You can either purchase reserved seats, or you can just enjoy the show from a lawn chair or blanket outside the main show area with your entrance to the festival since the concerts are all held outdoors under a covered stage. I was there last year for the REO Speedwagon concert, and the show was absolutely fantastic. The balloons glowing in the night sky during the “Night-time Balloon Glow” made it even more enjoyable.

Below is a gallery with a few of my photographs from the 2013 Festival, as well as a 2.5 minute video from the very end of the REO Speedwagon concert (includes a few seconds showing the “Wicked” Broadway show balloon glowing) to give you a feel for what it’s like to be there:

BE SURE TO ADJUST YOUR SPEAKERS for when the concert video appears (you’ll see a play button in the center of the screen).

For a good overview of the show, here is a link to a very informative interview from CBS News with Executive Producer Howard Freeman.

To get a better idea of exactly what to expect at the show, and to see a listing of all of the bands who are scheduled to play, below are direct links to the full schedule from the Festival website for each of the three days (I recommend printing these out or taking them with you on a mobile device so that you can get the most from the Festival):

Friday Event Schedule (PDF)
Saturday Event Schedule (PDF)
Sunday Event Schedule (PDF) 

Ticket Information and 33% off Tickets Available Until 11:59 pm Thurs. 7/24/2014

General ticket information can be found on this page, including links to information on purchasing balloon ride tickets. General Admission Tickets are $10 for children (age 4-12, children 3 and under are free) and $20 for adults when ordered by 11:59pm on Thurs. 7/24/2014. After that, they are $15 and $30 respectively. Other ticket options can be found under the “Tickets” section of the website.

Just in case this is your first time at the Festival, any general admission tickets purchased are valid for one day only. You can also avoid a $3/ticket online ordering surcharge by purchasing tickets at a QuickCheck store (here is a link to a page where you can search for a QuickChek location).