Summertime brings out the kid in all of us, beckoning us to spend time outside, away from all our gadgets and gizmos, and let loose. So check out an NJ fair or festival and have some carefree fun, eat ice cream, dance to bluegrass, and watch hot air balloons sail up into the summer sky.
1) State Fair MeadowlandsEast Rutherford, NJ
June 22-July 8
Seventeen days full of family fun, including rides, food, circus acts, live bands, petting zoo, pig racing, a hypnotist, and much more.
2) Fourth of July Family FestivalBridgewater, NJ
Bring lawn chairs and picnic baskets and enjoy musical performances from Wallstreet and Smooth, horse rides, a giant slide, a magic show, sing-alongs, cartoon characters, historical re-enactments, and fireworks.
3) Front Porch Bluegrass Festival and Pig RoastChester, NJ
The fourth annual Front Porch Bluegrass Festival will feature live bands, instrument auction, vendors, kids' activities, and a variety of food options including pulled pork, hush puppies, homemade waffles, and more.
4) Freedom Fest State FairAllentown, NJ
This statewide agricultural fair features live music, a petting farm, a jousting show, a magic show, pig racing, and more than 30 rides and attractions.
5) The Feast of Our Lady of Mount CarmelBerkeley Heights
At this yearly event, you’ll find food, rides, a parade, a Pyrotechnic Extravaganza, music, fireworks, and more.
6) City of Water DayJersey City
The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance invites everyone out to the waterfront for a full day of watery fun, including boat tours on historic vessels, kayaking, rowing, and fishing. There will be plenty of water-free festivities, too, with live music, waterfront bike riding, children’s activities, food, games, and more.
7) Passaic County FairWoodland Park, NJ
Carnival favorites abound at this county fair, with kids races and games, scavenger hunts, baking and eating contests, dance performances, circus acts, pony rides, and a dunk tank.
8) New Jersey State Ice Cream FestivalToms River, NJ
You’ll love cooling down with ice cream eating contests and tastings! In addition, there will be live music, games, rides, kids coloring contest, and more.
9) QuickChek Festival of Ballooning (shown)Readington, NJ
This festival has something for everyone: a twice-daily mass ascension of more than 100 shaped and sport hot air balloons, concerts, family entertainment, crafters and vendors, food, fireworks, a 5K run, and lots more.
10) Mercer County 4-H FairLambertville, NJ
The fair includes 4-H animal shows and exhibits; food and homemade ice cream; hay and pony rides; music; farm tours and demonstrations; children’s crafts and activities; and more.
11) Warren County Farmers’ Fair and Hot Air Balloon FestivalPhillipsburg, NJ
July 28-Aug. 4
There will be lots of activities going on at this festival, including a truck and tractor pull, demolition derby, tethered balloon rides, baking contest, carnival rides, pony races, storytime, kids’ corral, baby crawl contest, animals, and the evening “Balloomination” of glowing balloons on Aug. 3 and 4.