As you may have heard, a New Jersey tradition, The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning was canceled this summer. The announcement came this past December.

As I get ready to enjoy the summer of 2024 I am starting to feel the impact of the Festival of Ballooning cancellation. It is an event that I have been attending for over 20 years. I would broadcast my show from the Solberg Airport location in Readington, NJ and occasionally I hosted top-name rock and roll entertainers that have graced the festival’s main stage.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I enjoyed saying hi to so many of the thousands of people who attended the festival and stopped by our broadcast location to say hello. Seeing the magnificent balloons tethered and ready for take-off at the 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. ascension was truly a sight to see.

It was automatic to drive to Readington on the last weekend in July for the festival, the weather was on occasion a factor in thinning the crowd but overall, it was a great festival to attend.

The festival was canceled because, as with most things lately, the revenue generated did not cover the cost of operating the festival. Howard Freeman, the executive producer of the event noted that the festival has been operating since 1992 and providing entertainment at reasonable prices.

Photo by Kyle Hinkson on Unsplash
Photo by Kyle Hinkson on Unsplash

Freeman, who has been a yearly guest on my show, stated that they hope to refresh and organize the festival with a return in 2025.

I hope that is the case. The New Jersey Festival of Ballooning was a mainstay and part of the summer event schedule for thousands of New Jersey families. It certainly was for me.

I hope that they return in 2025, if they do, I will see you there. Good luck.

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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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