NJ's Three Biggest Fairs: What You Need to Know
From thrill rides and petting zoos to hot air balloons and epic food and drink, these Garden State fairs and festivals have it all.
Photo courtesy State Fair Meadowlands
This 35-acre fair’s got it all: 150 rides and attractions including live performances, hypnotists (more than 1,300 people are hypnotized every year) and acts like the High Dive Show and racing pigs. Be an eyewitness to illusions and escapes, hop on an animal ride, visit sea lions and finish the night with a fireworks show. Feast your eyes on the original Batcopter from the 1960s Batman TV series, and your stomach on more than 50 food vendors’ stands. Tens of thousands of zeppoles, corn dogs and buckets of cotton candy are sold every year, along with carnie faves like fried Oreos, candy apples, funnel cakes and curly fries. This year, you’ll be able to stuff your face with alligator on a stick, bacon cheese balls, fried poutine and churros.
June 21-July 8, times vary
1 MetLife Stadium Dr., East Rutherford
photo courtesy quickcheck New jersey festival of ballooning
Soar over the Garden State alongside 100 other hot air balloons at this festival, the largest summertime hot air balloon and music fest in North America. The kids can get their socks knocked off by an awesome entertainment lineup: we’re talking a human cannonball, aerial acrobats, jugglers and amusement rides. They’ll want to sit on your shoulders for Friday night’s fireworks extravaganza. The musical performances are the real deal, too— the lineup includes The Laurie Berkner Band, Andy Grammer, Lifehouse and Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Be sure to catch the morning and evening balloon launches, when rainbows lift off and spruce up the sky.
July 27-29, times vary
39 Thor Solberg Rd., Readington
photo courtesy New Jersey State Fair
This fair is packed with fun at every turn. Make your way to the outdoor arena, where you’ll see demo derbies, motocross, monster truck rides and tractor pulls. The family area is full of entertainment, too. There’ll be a performing arts tent (check out art and photography shows and educational exhibits), a chainsaw artist, racing pigs, a petting zoo and more. The horse show has been a part of the fair for nearly a century, which makes the stables a staple. The fair’s activities also include the Flower and Garden Expo, STEAM pavilion, 4-H presentations and Polish Night. Concessions are aplenty, too, so come hungry.
Aug. 3-11, 10 am-10 pm; Aug. 12, 10 am-5 pm
Sussex County Fairgrounds
37 Plains Rd., Augusta