The 1st Warren County Hot Air Balloon Festival
Warren County NJ

Here is a brief history of the Warren County Hot Air Balloon Festival. Note that with the exception of 2020 and/or Covid restrictions, the event has and will be held at the Warren County Farmers' Fairgrounds.

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.

Then came COVID-19 that changed everything for 2020. About to celebrate the 20th year of the Balloon Festival at the Warren County Farmers' Fair, the Fair found itself in a position where it could not open its gates. However, the organizer of the Balloon Festival worked hard with long time sponsor Warren County Community College to bring you a show at the college.

In 2020 we proudly presented the 20th annual Hot Air Balloon Festival at the Warren County Community College, and returned to the Fairgrounds in 2021 for our 21st year.

We also added two more festivals, at the Warren County Community College.


Read Warren County Hot Air Balloons, Fun & Games Festival To Be A ‘Community’ Event

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