Star wars theme features at New Jersey ballooning festival

This year’s ‘Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning’ featured a Star Wars theme prominent amongst some of the special balloon shapes on show, all of which made an appearance at an early morning “sneak preview” mass ascent.

The Darth Vader shaped hot air balloon is a floating likeness of the notorious Star War Villain’s helmeted head. At 86 feet tall, 69 feet wide, and 78 feet deep, this is a replica of cinematic proportions. Despite the two characters being on opposing sides during the film saga, a hot air balloon model of Master Yoda also featured alongside the Darth Vader balloon at the three-day festival which was based at Solberg Airport, Readington.

Other specially shaped balloons, of which over a hundred in all made an appearance, included a huge model panda, and seahorse shape which is around 121 feet tall, and a large-scale ‘Pepsi Football’, an American-football shaped balloon sporting a large Pepsi logo.

The annual New Jersey event is the largest summer hot air balloon festival in North America, with over 165,000 visitors expected to have attended the event in its 33rd year. Visitors, as well as being able to savour the novelty and sports balloon on show, got the chance to enjoy a full-price hot air balloon ride or a more affordable tethered ride, during which a balloon is roped to the ground, but can still ascend up to 100 feet.

Moreover, the festival brought considerable tourist benefits to the local area and surrounding counties, with an estimated £30.2 million ($47 million) contribution to the local economy.

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