At 5:30 in the morning, we punched in Solberg Airport into our car GPS and got our collective heads psyched for a day of ballooning. We wanted to be front and center to the ‘mass ascension’ at 6:30 am at the 28th QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Balloning. Waking up before dawn on Saturday mornings isn’t really really what you might call a tradition in our family. We decided though that this year isn’t going to be another year we ignore this festival in nearby Readington.
We thought arriving early enough would save us from the long lines for the parking lot. We were wrong. It took us some time to get to the lot and to park our car we needed to hand over $5. A short walk later, we were greeted by a ticketing lady asking us to hand over $70 to enter! Two adults at $25 each and $10 each for our two kids. The organizers were also very clear that they don’t allow bringing in any kind of food or beverage. Okay then.
The entrance fee is essentially what it is, an ENTRANCE FEE. Think you can watch Disney’s Emily Osment in a concert a 2pm? Guess again. That’s another $35. How about the Air Supply concert? Nope, that’s another $50. Or $60 if you want to be seated at the first 10 rows.
So what do you get from the $25 entrance fee? Well, you get to see the balloons. And they were spectacular! Made specially breathtaking by the glow of the sun at 6:30am. Fantastic, yes! Worth $25 to see? We’re still debating that one.
Our drive to the Balloon Festival took 25 minutes from Metuchen. After the balloon ascension, it only took us only a couple of minutes to realize it wasn’t worth staying another minute. Did we have fun from 6:30am to 7:15am (time it took for all the balloons to fly high and away)? Yes we did. Though I must contend the it shouldn’t have cost $25 (plus $5 parking) to see this. Maybe $10. 🙂
Okay now that I’ve let everyone know how cheap I am, here are the photos from this morning’s festivities. The festival runs until Sunday June 25, 2010. Like I’ve mentioned, it’s only 25 minutes away from Metuchen. But if that’s still too far away for you, then just sit back and enjoy the photos below. I’ll save you the $25 entrance fee AND the $5 parking fee. 🙂