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Festival cancellation leaves a big void this summer in New Jersey

As you may have heard, a New Jersey tradition, the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning, has been canceled this summer. The announcement took place last December.

As I prepare to enjoy the summer of 2024, I am starting to feel the impacts of the cancellation of the Hot Air Balloon Festival. This is an event I have been attending for over 20 years. I broadcast my show from Solberg Airport in Readington, New Jersey, and occasionally hosted big-name rock and roll artists who graced the festival’s main stage.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I enjoyed saying hello to the thousands of people who attended the festival and stopped by our venue to say hello. Seeing the beautiful balloons tied up and ready to take off during the 6:30am and 6:30pm climb was truly a sight to behold.

It was automatic to head to Readington the last weekend in July for the festival, the weather was a factor in thinning crowds at times but overall it was a great festival to attend.

The festival was canceled because, as with most recent events, the revenue generated did not cover the costs of running the festival. Howard Freeman, the event’s executive producer, noted that the festival has been running since 1992 and offers reasonably priced entertainment.

Photo by Kyle Hinkson on Unsplash

Photo by Kyle Hinkson on Unsplash

Freeman, who is an annual guest on my show, said he hopes to refresh and stage the festival with a 2025 return.

I hope that’s the case. The New Jersey Hot Air Balloon Festival was a mainstay and part of the summer event schedule for thousands of New Jersey families. It was definitely for me.

I hope they come back in 2025, if they do I’ll see you there. Good luck.

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

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