The sun was crawling over the horizon on Friday morning as dozens of hot air balloons launched into the sky. And just in case the real sun wasn’t ready, there was a 135-foot one, with 65-foot-wide sunglasses.
The New Jersey Lottery Sunny Days sun-shaped balloon was first inflated at the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning, previewing inflation and launched Friday morning at Solberg Airport in Readington.
The real sun came in and out of the clouds for the 6am launch, kicking off the festival which runs until July 31.
Pilot Ken Loesser let his passengers walk inside the balloon and take a few photos before heating up the air for liftoff.
The hot air balloon festival will host up to 100 sport and specialty shape hot air balloons flying in mass ascent Friday evening at 6:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Saturday night has a balloon glow at 8:30 p.m.
The festival offers gourmet music and entertainment over the three days.
General admission, advance purchase price is $32 for adults and children over 12, $12 for children 4-12, and free for children under 3.
The price is higher for in-person ticket purchases at the box office: $40 for adults; $15 for children 4 to 12 years old; and free for children up to 3 years old.
Check the weather forecast and festival website for updates.
The balloon festival takes off
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Ed Murray can be reached at [email protected].