Students can win tickets to New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning through PNC Bank essay contest

The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning and PNC Bank are inviting New Jersey students in grades 2-12 to take part in the 17th annual PNC Bank “American Patriot Essay Contest” by writing a short essay on the topic “What the American Flag Means to Me.”

The Grand Prize winner will receive the opportunity to take a ride in a 75-foot-tall hot air balloon in front of their classmates at their school in June and then fly in one of the 100 hot air balloons at this year’s 38th annual balloon fest, scheduled for July 24-26 at Solberg Airport in Readington.

The Festival VIP Grand Prize package includes 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.

This year’s winning student’s immediate classmates will each receive one complimentary general admission ticket to the Festival. Second-place and third-place prizes consisting of festival admission and merchandise will be also awarded. The winning student’s teacher and school principal will each receive two Blue Sky Club VIP tickets.

All teachers in the state who submit a group of 15 essays or more on behalf of their students will receive two free general admission tickets to the festival regardless of whether one of their students submits the winning essay.

The essays must 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.

Entries should be mailed to Essay Judges, New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning, 363 Route 46 West, Suite 200, Fairfield 07004; or emailed to pncessay@balloonfestival.com. Entries should include the student’s name, grade and age; the school name, address and telephone number; and the name of their teacher and the teacher’s school email address.

The deadline to enter is May 1.

Additional information may be found at www.balloonfestival.com/pncessay.