STORY: A crowd was on hand in Readington, New Jersey, for the inflation and start of the festival. 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 balloons bring out the kid in everyone,” said Howard Freeman, the producer of the festival.
"I've done this for a long time... but still, when I hear the propane whirring and these balloons going up, it makes the hair on my arm stand up.”
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. Some 175,000 people are expected to take part over the weekend.
Prices for a ride range from $250 – $315 per person, depending on the time of day.