June 20-July 7, times vary
1 MetLife Stadium Dr., East Rutherford
NJ’s biggest fair has added some fun new stuff to its lineup, including the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show (think axe throwing, chainsaws and a whole lot of chopping), magic shows by Jay Mattioli and Jurassic Kingdom, complete with animatronic dinosaurs and artifacts. Pair that with classic rides like a chairlift, chair swings and a drop tower, free shows and concerts, a petting zoo and tons of festival sweets like funnel cake and fried Oreos. Don’t miss Hypnotist Steve Bayner (who hypnotizes more than 1,300 people at the State Fair every year), an extreme biking performance by Cycle Circus Live, a jungle-themed high dive show and jaw-dropping feats by Extreme Illusions and Escapes.
July 26-28, times vary
39 Thor Solberg Rd., Readington
This breathtaking festival is in its 37th year and remains the biggest summer hot air balloon and music fest on the continent. The kids will marvel at 100 stunning floaters from around the world soaring over Hunterdon County twice a day (you can even hop a ride in one!). Between balloon launches, festival goers can take rides, see a magic show, reach new heights at an extreme trampoline show and catch fireworks. For budding yogis and experienced grown-ups, there’ll also be Pilates classes and sunrise yoga sessions. A stacked concert lineup features kids’ recording artist Dan Zanes + Claudia Eliaza, ABBA the Concert, the country-pop group The Band Perry and the legends themselves, The Beach Boys.
Aug. 2-10, 10 am-10 pm; Aug. 11, 10 am-5 pm
Sussex County Fairgrounds
37 Plains Rd., Augusta
This massive event is the biggest agricultural fair in NJ. Kids can get up close and personal with six barns filled with farm animals, be wowed at the horse show, explore the greenhouse full of flowers and produce, learn all about farm work at the milking parlor, make scarecrows, hop a ride on a pedal tractor and more in the exhibit building. There’ll also be a honey show, homemade wares, handmade quilts and more. Of course, there’ll also be classic carnie features like amusement rides, demolition derbies and monster trucks.