Will Festival of Ballooning be grounded in 2020?
READINGTON — The New Jersey Festival of Ballooning may not fly in 2020 if no title sponsor comes forward.
QuickChek in October gave up its sponsorship after 27 years and so far no other companies have come forward to add their name to the event, according to festival organizer Howard Freeman.
"We have had some people kick the tires and nibble and for one reason or another it hasn't made sense or it's in a category that hasn't worked out. I have a lot of confidence that somebody will see the value of an event that has shined a positive publicity on both the state of New Jersey and the companies that have been involved with us," Freeman said.
The event is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America with an estimated economic impact of $52.4 million.
The cost of sponsorship is about $500,000, according to Freeman. Last year more than 169,000 people attended the festival.
Freeman is open to several companies splitting up the title sponsorship but there is a a deadline of Jan. 31 or there won't be a festival in 2020.
"The musical artists routing schedules are being put together, corporate budgets are being put together, our attractions are routing," Freeman said.
Freeman also said the festival has provided a "worldwide positive spin" for New Jersey over the past 27 years and said perhaps Gov. Phil Murphy should step up and help land a sponsorship.
"For me, it's too good an opportunity to pass up but maybe I am too close to it," Freeman said.
QuickChek CEO Dean Durling said its sponsorship helped grow the company's brand and market share to 160 stores in New Jersey, the Hudson Valley and Long Island and will be at the 2020 festival with a pop up store.
The 2020 festival is scheduled for July 24-26 at Solberg Airport in Readington.
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