Hopefully this is a sign of returning normalcy. After a one year hiatus, the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning is coming back this summer.

The annual event at Solberg Airport in Readington was called off in 2020 because of the pandemic, but plans are going full steam ahead for this year. The festival is scheduled for Jul. 23-25, although they do have contingency plans in case it needs to be delayed or moved. As always, along with the balloon launches, there will be live entertainment, with a couple of heavy hitters for headliners. The Saturday featured concert will be the Canadian band, Barenaked Ladies, who have sold over 15 million albums and had the #1 hit, “One Week.” On Sunday night it will be classic rock staple, Styx; the Chicago rockers are one of the most enduring bands of the rock era, with such well known songs as “Babe,” “Come Sail Away,” “The Best of Times,” and “Mr. Roboto,” to name just a few. (The festival invites people to fly AND sail away).

Tickets for both shows are now on sale on the festival’s website.

The New Jersey Festival of Ballooning describes the event as, "From twice daily mass ascensions of up to 100 special shape and sport hot air balloons, to headlining concerts, non-stop family entertainment, hundreds of crafters and vendors, great food, fireworks, a balloon glow, and more, the festival is jam-packed with stuff to do."

This will be the 38th Festival of Ballooning, and they will be doing everything they can to make it safe for patrons:

We will follow the lead of Governor Murphy on the size of mass gatherings, as well as the sanitization guidelines and protocols set forth by the CDC and local agencies. You can expect to see lots more hand sanitizer stations, attendants to wipe down bathrooms, other most-touched surfaces, etc. We’re working on cashless/touchless payment systems. Also, whatever else will be required at that time so that we can assure the safest, healthiest and most patron-friendly event possible.

For more information, go here.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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