Morning Rising: NJ Festival of Ballooning

Early morning preparations
Early morning preparations

I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, but for glorious light and/or an interesting adventure, I am there. (Most times!)
This weekend on the East Coast is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America, The Hot Air Ballooning Festival in Readington, NJ. Lift off of over 100 balloons takes place twice a day on Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 am & 6:30 pm.

Almost There
Almost There
Tethered Together
Tethered Together
Be Happy!
Be Happy!
What A View!
What A View!
Photo Op
Photo Op

Visitors can buy tickets to the fair grounds or sit on the outside and simply look up for this breathtaking view. Many special moments are over so quickly but this is a well orchestrated event with 5 to 6 balloons rising at at time so the sky is filled with multi colors and multi shaped forms floating at all different heights. On the fair grounds, there are also rides, food and family entertainment. Each evening, concerts (tickets needed) with a special Balloon Glow are held.

Up, Up and Away!
Up, Up and Away!

The very first balloon flight took place in Versailles on September 18, 1783 and was launched with a duck, a rooster and a sheep in the basket…all were happily unharmed. However, as time went on, manned balloons were attacked by land owners with stones, clubs and pitchforks as they landed so the French aeronauts found that they could bring about friendships by offering the landowners a bottle of champagne to thank them for the use of their land. To this day, a champagne toast takes place after each flight and I offer you the Balloonists’ Prayer which I thought was such a beautiful and peaceful ending after the flights I was fortunate enough to be a part of.

“May the winds welcome you with softness.
May the sun bless you with its warm hands.
May you fly so high and so well that God
joins you in laughter and sets you gently
back into the loving arms of Mother Earth”.

Cheers!!!

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