What a gorgeous dawn for a balloon launch!

Early-morning visitors to the 34th Annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning were greeted by clear blue skies Saturday — a great backdrop for the pandas, pigs and penguins about to fill the sky (none of which you're likely to see fly in any other context).

It's a great break from the rain that kept Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt grounded Friday, the day she planned a hot air balloon ride. But Erin still got to meet plenty of great people as she took a behind-the-scenes look at the festival — a Jersey tradition, hosted every year by Solberg Airport in Readington.

Meteorologist Dan Zarrow is predicting some mixed weather throughout the weekend. Let's hope the rain and wind stay away — but mornings are looking more encouraging than evenings. Gates at the festival open at 6 a.m., and balloons are usually up within the hour.

The festival continues throughout the weekend — and New Jersey 101.5 will be there throughout. Stop by to meet Craig Allen on Saturday, sign up for our newsletter, and we'll post your picture with Craig or our crew up on NJ1015.com.

There's a full schedule of events that includes amusement rides, magicians, jugglers — even a lady getting firing from a cannon!

There are evening balloon launches — featuring more than 100 hot air balloons — each day at dusk, and there's another 6 a.m. launch on Sunday. Rides in the hot air balloons are available as well.

Sunday is the annual Running with the Balloons 5K.

Saturday, July 30: Catch Craig Allen broadcasting LIVE from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., followed by the Jersey Prize Team from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Then catch KC & The Sunshine Band, presented by New Jersey 101.5 performing at 8 p.m.!

Sunday, July 31:  Big Joe Henry will be broadcasting LIVE from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Stop by and hang with us! The Music's Coming Out to Play — you should too!

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