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Balloon Festival
July 2017
While looking for someplace to go for a day trip, we stumbled upon a balloon festival in North Jersey. Since hot air balloons always make for great photos, I couldn't pass it up. We bought tickets and headed to Readington Airport. Unfortunately, the day was pretty overcast and there were scattered showers throughout the day. Some of the traditional balloons were able to launch but all of the larger shaped balloons either inflated and stayed tethered or just didn't inflate at all. As it turned out, the unexpected part that made the price of admission worth it was all of the companies that were there handing out samples of their products. It was a bizarrely eclectic mix of stuff. From Advil to Minute Rice to flavored milk and on and on, we had to make the long muddy walk to the car twice just to offload all of the stuff we'd been given! It was a fun day and we managed to stay mostly dry while watching the balloons that were brave enough to take off despite the questionable weather.

(click any photo for a larger version)

01 Planters Peanutmobile 02 Balloon Ferris Wheel 03 Pizza Oven
I had no idea that Planters had a peanutmobile but there it is.
Even the little ferris wheel is hot air balloon themed.
I don't envy this guy standing by a pizza oven on such a sweltering day, but a portable brick pizza oven is pretty cool.
05 Balloon Wind Spinners 06 Runway 07 Aerial Acrobat
Vendors were selliing balloon themed everything.
The aiport runway was converted into the midway
An acrobat hanging from a balloon. Not something you see everyday.
08 Aerial Acrobat 14 Solberg Airport Sign 15 Discovery Channel Shark
An acrobat hanging from a balloon. Not something you see everyday.
The festival was held at Solberg Airport.
It was Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, so this guy showed up to celebrate.
16 Balloon Ride 20 Green Flag 21 Balloons inflating
More balloon themed rides for the kids.
The green flag means it's safe for the balloons to ascend, even though many didn't thanks to the rain.
The balloons begin to inflate.
22 Balloons Inflating 24 First Balloons Taking Off 26 Balloons
The balloons begin to inflate.
The first balloon leaves the ground.
And off they go!
27 Purple & Pink Balloon 28 Pepsi Football Balloon 29 Bee Balloons Inflating
Half his arrows might be pointing up, but this guy never took off.
Giant Pepsi football balloon
3 giant bumblebees begin to appear
30 Channel 7 Balloon 31 Happy Face Balloon Inflating 33 Balloon
This patriotic balloon is advertising a TV station up in New York.
The crowd watched as the happiest balloon inflates.
Balloons of every color take to the sky
34 NJ 1015 Balloon 36 Balloons Launching 37 Smiley Face & NJ 1015 Balloons
One of the few benefits of the crappy weather was being able to see the burners light up the baloons a bit.
So many people and so many balloons!
A giant flying emoji?
38 Bee Balloons 40 Wicked Balloon 41 Balloons
The bee triplets are finally fully inflated but they stayed on the ground thanks to the crappy weather.
Wicked is probably the only broadway show to own its own hot air balloon.
So many people and so many balloons!
42 QuickChek Balloon 43 Balloons 44 Wicked, PNC & QuickChek Balloons
QuickChek is a convenience store up north and the title sponsor of the balloon festival. This is somehow represented by a giant barn.
Nothing says Americana like hot air balloons flying over a giant flag.
That giant flag balloon is going to dwarf the others.
46 Coke Balloon & Green Flag 47 PNC Flag Balloon 50 Balloon
This balloon reminds me of the one we flew aboard in New Mexico.
PNC Bank's giant flag balloon is quite a sight to see.
The balloons still look bright and colorful against the dreary rainy skies.
51 Lion & Angry Bird Balloons 52 Angry Bird Balloon 53 Bimbo Balloon
And suddenly there's a lion!
I keeping looking for the pig balloon that the Angry Bird is going to pop.
Bimbo bakery's bear balloon. Say that 3 times fast.
54 Wonder Balloon 55 PNC Flag Balloon 56 Wonder Balloon
You won't find me eating Wonder Bread, but they do have a cool balloon.
PNC Bank's giant flag balloon is quite a sight to see.
As the skies get grayer, the burners heating the balloons look cooler and cooler.
57 Panda Balloon 58 Source 4 Teachers 59 Freebies & Samples
Just a giant panda hanging out above the crowd
The balloons still look bright and colorful against the dreary rainy skies.
Who knew that we'd come home with a crazy amount of free samples!

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