In 2001 a local balloon pilot, Fred Grotenhuis, approached the Fair about incorporating a Hot Air Balloon Festival at their County Fair. Fred, a life long resident of Harmony Township, New Jersey had fond memories of the Fair when he was growing up. He thought that as ballooning was an exciting activity in the area it would be a good draw to the Fair.
The first year there were about 15 balloonists that gathered, from Wednesday through Saturday. At the time the Fair ran from Monday to Saturday. Over the years the number of pilots began to grow and they also began to show up for informal flights on Monday and Tuesday. So it wasn't long before there were nightly balloon launches and the Balloon Festival was expanded to the 6 days of the Fair.
Then came the addition of Sunday. The first year Sunday was added to the end of the week. After that it moved to beginning of the week, as many of the food vendors are run by non-profits and volunteers that take the week off work to help out. This way they would have a day to clean up and recoup a bit before returning to their daily work routines. In 2012, for the 75th anniversary of the Fair, and as everyone always found themselves at the Fair on Saturday anyway, they decided they should just open up on Saturday.
Today the Warren County Farmers' Fair runs from Saturday to Saturday, the week that August 1st falls within. The event is two events rolled into one – a county fair and a hot air balloon festival. As a community event, organizers keep their admission prices reasonable. Plan your visit to the Warren County Farmers' Fair and Hot Air Balloon festival this year, for a day out in the country, a charming glimpse of local agriculture and the wonderment of watching mass hot air balloon launch from green pasture to blue sky each evening.
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