The 39th annual New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning set off on Friday (July 29) from a central region of the Garden State.
A crowd was on hand in Readington, New Jersey, for the inflation and start of the festival. Some 175,000 people are expected to take part over the weekend.
About 45 balloons are being included, and range from ones dedicated to the New Jersey lottery and Pepsi to those dedicated to tigers and unicorns.
The New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism says the annual festival is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America.
The clear and cloudy day Friday with calm winds are ideal for flight.
“I’ve done this for a long time,” said Howard Freeman, the producer of the festival. “But still, when I hear the propane whirring and these balloons going up, it makes the hair on my arm stand up…. the balloons bring out the kid in everyone.”
Prices for a ride range from $250 – $315 per person, depending on the time of day.