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Free Things to Do in NJ this September

Want to get the kids out of the house without spending a ton (or any) money? It’s your lucky month. We've found easy-on-the-pocket fun your kid will love.


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We found more than 30 local events and activities for your fam to enjoy this month—all for free (or offering free admission). Don’t forget to check out local fairs and festivals and the best places to take your preschoolers, either.

Monday, September 3

43rd Annual Rutherford Labor Day Street Fair

Where: Park Ave., Rutherford
Time: 10 am-5 pm
Deets: Hit the streets for the oldest and largest one-day street festival in the state. There’ll be street vendors, food trucks and an antique fair. Be sure to check out the stilt walker, balloon artist and jugglers.

Thursday, September 6

Open Mic Night: Stigma Free Month

Where: Morris County Library, Whippany​
Time: 6:30-8:30pm
Deets: Sit back and let performers, musicians, instrumentalists, singers, storytellers, comedians and poets entertain you for a night—all to help eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance use and abuse through creative expression.

Friday, September 7

Downtown Concert Series: Rosewood

Where: Museum of Early Trades and Crafts, Madison
Time: 6-8 pm
Deets: Break out the wicker basket and spread the plaid blanket. This concert series is all about spending time with family and friends—listen to music, make crafts and hit the Are We There Yet? exhibit.

Asbury Park Oysterfest

Where: Bradley Park, Asbury Park
Time: 6-10 pm
Deets: Spend three days digging into fresh oysters and good grub, plus listen to live music and participate in other surprise activities at this fishy fest. Fest runs Friday-Sunday, but only Friday admission is free. $3/Saturday-Sunday.

Saturday, September 8

Woofstock and Friends at City Place

Where: City Place at the Promenade, Edgewater
Time: 11am-4pm
Deets: Bring your furry fam to this pet-friendly event and check out the pups and cats looking for a home. Get some swag, dress them up and show ‘em off in the Pooch Parade. Enter a raffle for pet prizes and more.

Maple Shade Sidewalk Sale and Festival with Car Show

Where: 1 E. Main St., Maple Shade
Time: 9 am-3 pm
Deets: Come for the Kids Fun Zone, crafters, car show and exhibitors, but stay for the live entertainment, costumed characters, food and more.

Bridgewater Library Car Show

Where: Bridgewater Library, Bridgewater
Time: Noon-3 pm
Deets: Celebrate the library’s 13th Annual Car Show, where you can snap photos and vote for your fave automobiles in a variety of categories. Kids can also make a car-related craft.

Sunday, September 9

The 27th Annual Edgewater Arts & Music Festival

Where: Old River Rd. at Thompson Ln., Edgewater
Time: 11am-6pm
Deets: Celebrate the arts with local artisans and musicians at this all day event. There’ll be great food, drinks and a whole lot of creativity to take part in.

It's Fa'll Ya'll Community Event

Where: 201 Rte. 31, Flemington​
Time: 11:30 am-3:30 pm
Deets: Gather round for live music performed by the Craig Sailor Project Band, plus kids activities, games, prizes, food and drink. (It’s also pet-friendly!)

South Jersey Gay Pride

Where: Cooper River Park, Cherry Hill
Time: Noon-6 pm
Deets: Break out your rainbow gear and head to this prideful event which celebrates New Jersey’s LGBTQ+ community. Bring blankets, chairs and tables, and get ready to get your pride on.

Montgomery FunFest

Where: Princeton Airport, Princeton
Time: Noon-5 pm
Deets: Rain or shine, the fest must go on. Local restaurants, businesses and organizations will bring food, live entertainment and other activities to entertain 10,000 visitors.

Friday-Sunday, September 14-16

St. Joseph School Carnival

Where: 105 Harrison St., New Milford
Times: Vary
Deets: Celebrate St. Joseph School’s 80th Anniversary with rides, games, food, a 50/50 raffle and more. Dig into the pie eating contest, participate in the tricky tray and check out the classic car show before you leave.

Saturday, September 15

Ridgefield Parks Annual Street Fair

Where: Main St., Ridgefield Park
Time: 10 am-5 pm
Deets: The kids can hop on some mechanical kiddie rides or a climbing wall, get their faces painted, create sand art and more. The fam can take part in live entertainment, participate in giveaways and a football toss game, then dig into delicious fair foods, too.

NJ Storytelling Festival

Where: Howell Living History Farm, Hopewell Twp.
Time: Noon-6 pm
Deets: Listen to a continuous rotation of tristate storytellers tell tales (five minutes or less) in celebration of oral tradition. Stick around for the Lightning Round, when storytellers will spout two minute stories back to back.

Saturday-Sunday, September 15-16

Fine Art and Crafts at Anderson Park

Where: Anderson Park, Upper Montclair
Time: 10 am-5 pm
Deets: Peruse and mingle with more than 140 exhibitors of art, glass, leather and more (don’t forget to splurge on a little something nice for yourself), then make your way over to the specialty foods section and hit a demo while you munch.

Sunday, September 16

Fannywood Day Street Fair

Where: South Ave. and Martine Ave., Fanwood​
Time: 10 am-5 pm
Deets: Make their day with a trip to this fair featuring a petting zoo, pony and kiddie rides, face painting, temporary tattoos and contests like a pancake eating contest. There’ll also be a DJ so your lil’ ones can shake their lil’ butts, plus plenty of food and craft vendors to keep Mom and Dad busy, too.

Ridgewood Fall Craft Street Fair

Where: 218 East Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood
Time: Noon-5 pm
Deets: Sidle over to this street fair, which features 175 arts, crafts and photography exhibitors, plus a Kidz Zone with games, inflatables and pony rides. Rain or shine, come for food, music and entertainment.

HistoryFest

Where: Updike Farmstead, Princeton
Time: 1-4 pm
Deets: Stop by for programs and activities celebrating this year’s theme of “Edible Princeton History,” hosted by the Historical Society of Princeton.

Monday, September 17

Latin Dance Party

Where: Hillsborough Library, Hillsborough
Time: 7-8 pm
Deets: Pencil this into your calendar: a night celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with Latin dance! Professionals will teach you how to salsa, tango, rumba and merengue.

Constitution Day

Where: National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA
Time: 9:30 am-5 pm
Deets: Watch newly-minted Americans take their citizenship oath, listen to a reading of Constitution’s Preamble, watch discuss between federal judges, work on crafts, sign a giant Constitution and, of course, dig into a piece of birthday cake.

Saturday, September 22

Edison Fall Family Spectacular

Where: Amboy Ave., Edison
Time: 10 am-6 pm
Deets: Pile the kiddos into the car and hit the kiddie and pony rides, petting zoo, remote control car racing track, plus watch professional wrestling, peruse wares like jewelry, clothing and handbags and bring an empty stomach for foodie faves like sausage and peppers, shish kebab, gyros and cheesesteaks.

Fire Watch Festival

Where: Memorial Middle School, Fair Lawn
Time: 10 am-5 pm
Deets: Come out to honor Veterans and active duty Military members. There’ll be a concert, beer garden, kids’ activities, a car, truck and motorcycle show, plus a Veteran-owned business outdoor marketplace.

Franklin Day Festival

Where: Colonial Park Lot C, Somerset
Time: Noon-5 pm
Deets: Spend the day boppin’ to live entertainment, marveling at the art show, snapping photos of classic cars and perusing more than 120 exhibitors’ tables. There’ll also be free activities for the kids.

Aiken and Friends Music Fest, North Branch

Where: RVCC, Branchburg​
Time: 2-6 pm
Deets: Bop around to roots, Americana and country bands who’ll perform hits and original songs. Get your fill of music, plus food and other vendors.

National Public Lands Day

Where: National Parks, US
Time: Varies
Deets: Celebrate the wonder of the US’ National Parks without breaking out your wallet. Normally, 118 of the country’s 417 national parks charge an entrance fee, but on this day, you can enter all of them without spending your hard-earned change, so take advantage of your chance to explore with the fam.

Friday, September 28

Cruise Night with Fossil Car Club

Where: Jackson Premium Outlets, Jackson
Time: 6-9 pm
Deets: Check out a variety of classic and muscle cars. If you’ve got a penchant for hot rods, foreign models and other show wheels, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to snap a photo with your faves.

Saturday, September 29

Monroe Township Green Fair 2018

Where: Monroe Twp. High School, Monroe Twp
Time: 10 am-3 pm
Deets: Enjoy children’s activities like craft making, then check out exhibits on upcycling, organics, wildlife protection and more. Learn about the ocean and its creatures like horseshoe crabs, sharks and jellyfish, plus take home any seashells and fossil shark teeth you find.

14th Annual Fall Family Festival

Where: Essex County Environmental Center, Roseland​
Time: 11 am-4 pm
Deets: Celebrate a belated Autumn Equinox with hands-on games and crafts, plus canoeing, a petting zoo and food. Learn about Native American life, then hit the pumpkin patch for some family photos.

Italian Festival

Where: Historic Smithville, Galloway
Time: 11 am-5 pm
Deets: If there’s anything Jersey knows, it’s Italian food. Hit the market, listen to live music, play bocce ball, watching folk dancing and let the kids go ham on children’s activities.

Sunday, September 30

Hoboken Arts and Music Festival

Where: Washington St. between Observer Hwy. and 7th St., Hoboken
Time: 11 am-6 pm
Deets: Make plans to hit three stages filled with live music of varying genres like rock, jazz, folk and Latin. There’ll also be more than 200 crafters, photographers and artists in attendance, plus plenty of food from local restaurants. Kids can hit up the rides, games, face painting, sand art and other activities.

Ongoing

Ramsey Farmers' Market

Where: 2 W. Main St., Ramsey
Time: 9 am-2 pm
Deets: Explore wares from more than 50 local farmers, offering seasonal and organic fruits, veggies, bread, cheese, spices and more. If you’re vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or an organic eater, this market is the foodie destination for you. Ends November 25.

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