Essay Contest Will Bring Hot Air Balloon To Winner’s School

READINGTON–PNC Bank and the Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning are inviting New Jersey students in grades 2 through 12 to take part in the 9th annual PNC Bank American Patriot Essay Contest by writing a short essay on the topic “What the American Flag Means to Me.”

This year’s Grand Prize winner will receive a visit to his or her school by a gigantic, 75-foot-tall hot air balloon in June and a special VIP package at this year’s festival: a hot air balloon ride for two, four Blue Sky Club VIP tickets, and the opportunity to meet one of this year’s concert headliners, which have included the Jonas Brothers and Disney stars Demi Lovato and Emily Osment in the past.

The largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America celebrates its 30th anniversary July 27-29 at Solberg Airport in Readington and features the PNC Bank American Flag balloon, the largest free-flying flag in the world. The Festival has been named one of the Top 100 Events in North America five times and has been selected as the No. 1 Thing to Do in New Jersey in 2012 by New Jersey Monthly magazine.

“Every year in the American Patriot Essay contest it is very moving to us at PNC to see the young people of New Jersey express pride in our country’s history and hope for its future,” said Joseph Whall, PNC Senior Vice President & Director of Client and Community Relations.

The essays should be 100 words or less. They will be judged by a panel of representatives from PNC Bank and the balloon festival. Winning essays will be selected based on creativity, poignancy and clarity with consideration given to the grade level of the contestant. Contestants are not required to be U.S. citizens.

Entries should be submitted by May 1 to Essay Judges, Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, 363 Route 46 West, Suite 200, Fairfield, NJ, 07004. Students can also enter the contest through the festival web site at or by emailing their essays to Entries should include the student’s name, home or school address, home or school telephone number, grade, age, school name and the name of their teacher.

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