July 24, 2015 1:24 pm

Darth Vader, Yoda highlight New Jersey hot air balloon festival


TORONTO – It’s not often that you find Darth Vader and Yoda together at an event.

But the popular Star Wars characters were just some of the creative and unique designs at the annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, which kicks off this weekend in Readington, New Jersey.

According to event organizers the Darth Vader balloon stands as a very Vader-esque 86-feet tall, while Yoda stands at a comparatively (and appropriately) diminutive 62 feet.

Other designs include a panda, a giant American flag, and a hatching velociraptor from Jurassic Park.

Organizers put the finishing touches on the event Friday morning with a “mass ascension”, where all the balloons involved in the festival took to the air en masse.

Believed to be the largest festival of this type in North America, over 100 sport and display balloons are scheduled to take part and an estimated 165,000 people are expected to attend over the course of the weekend.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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