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Up, Up and Away!

July 20, 2010

image by Ed Pagliarini,The Courier Times

By Brianne Harrison

Soar with the birds (or keep your feet on the ground and enjoy plenty of great entertainment!) at the 28th Annual New Jersey Festival of Ballooning this Friday through Sunday at Solberg Airport in Readington.

For those who want to rise above it all for a little while, balloon rides are offered twice a day, at 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and last from 30 to 45 minutes. If the winds are calm enough, more cost-effective five-minute tethered rides will also be available. If you’re not in the mood to float several hundred feet off the ground, you can still enjoy the sight of more than 100 balloons floating majestically, including several fun special shape balloons, such as Mr. Scarecrow, The Little Bees, a Haunted House, and the Quick Chek Fresh Farm.

Each day will also feature concerts, with entertainers who’ll please everyone in the family. Headliners this year include Air Supply, George Thorogood & the Destoyers, Emily Osment, and Rick Springfield. There will also be magic shows, skydiving demonstrations, performances for children in the Family Fun Pavilion, and a trapeze act, to name just a few of the offerings. Feel like shopping? You can do that too—there’ll be hundreds of artisans and craftspeople selling their wares at the festival. Friday night will cap off with a fireworks display, and Saturday will be the annual “Balloon Glow”, when all the balloons light up the night sky like Chinese lanterns.

Sunday has been named Health and Wellness Day and will feature events that promote healthy, active lifestyles. The day will kick off with the Trinitas Regional Medical Center’s Running with the Balloons 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run (all participants get a free day’s admission to the Festival). Racers can register Sunday morning for $40. Following the race will be yoga and Zumba classes. Stop by and stretch out or try this calorie-burning dance craze!

Advance tickets are available through midnight on July 22 and are $17 for an adult, $7 for children ages 4-12. After the 22, adult tickets will be $25 and children’s tickets will be $10. For tickets and more info, visit balloonfestival.com.

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