READINGTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — If you’ve ever dreamed of going up, up and away, New Jersey is the place to be this weekend for the country’s largest hot air balloon festival, CBS 2’s Alex Denis reported.

Crews at the 32nd annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning unraveled nearly 100 massive balloons and carried out the final inspections before firing up and taking off.

The festival, which kicks off Friday night, features balloons of all shapes and sizes, including the largest free-flying American flag.

“The interior is 124,000 cubic feet, which could fit roughly 700,000 3-by-5 flags,” balloon pilot Barry Dilibero said.

It takes two burners and 30 million British thermal units (BTUs) to lift it off the ground– the same force needed to cool a 2,000-square-foot home.

Being a balloon pilot is a job that requires a special skill set, Denis reported.

“It’s a lot of fun and you get used to it. Some people get nervous and put sweat marks in here but we do the best we can,” balloon pilot Jon Carter said.

Along with the balloons, the event features live music and fireworks.

The festival runs through Sunday evening. Tickets can be bought online at

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