New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning

There are hundreds of fairs and festivals happening this summer in NJ. But if you are having trouble deciding which one to go to, these are some of our favorites!

*Note: Some festivals require advance ticketing, please call or check their websites for more details before you head out.

From now until Sunday, July 11, enjoy the State Fair Meadowlands set in the parking lot at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. It’s the largest fair in the state with over 100 different rides and games to enjoy, plus live entertainment from acts like The Jay Mattioli Magic Show, Pirates of The Columbian Caribbean and many more. Visit their website for the entertainment schedule and to purchase tickets.

 On July 11, participate in a day of Dragon Boat races, entertainment, food, and fun for a good cause: the Gilda’s Club South Jersey Dragon Boat Festival in Hamilton raises crucial funds to aid those impacted by cancer in South Jersey.

Formerly known as the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning in Readington is set to return on July 23-25, 2021 at the Solberg Airport. In addition to watching massive balloon launches and your typical festival games and foods, you can also see some awesome musical performances. The festival is bringing in some big music acts for the weekend. On Saturday, July 24 at 8 pm, the Canadian band Barenaked Ladies, best known for the infectious pop hit “One Week,” will be playing the festival. On Sunday, rock band Styx, known for the anthem “Come Sail Away” will be headlining the day at 3 pm. You can buy your tickets for the concerts now. 

Sink your teeth into this three-day fest packed with food, spirits, music, demos and a cooking competition at the New Jersey State Barbecue Championship in North Wildwood from July 9-11. Think brisket, pork, ribs and chicken, all seasoned and marinated with painstaking precision.

Enjoy food, games, raffles, rides, and even beer/wine from July 12-17 at the annual Keyport Fireman’s Fair.

If you want to skip the crowds at the New Jersey Lottery festival, get your inflatable fix with the Balloon Festival at the Warren County Farmers’ Fair, which is celebrating its 83rd year with a launch of colorful hot air balloons from July 28-August 4 in Phillipsburg. Apart from the balloon-related festivities, you and your family will have your pick of other fun activities: test your athleticism at the Olympics Obstacle Course or Frying Pan Throwing Contest, then get down in a mud bog competition or tractor pull contest, hop on a carnival ride or check out antique cars. There’ll be a rodeo, shows, crafts, and lessons, too.

The 7th Annual Food Truck Seafood Festival at the Meadowlands Racetrack will offer options such as fried and grilled fish and lobster rolls from great local vendors, while participants can compete for cash prizes during the 2021 Meadowlands Racetrack Chowder Cookoff. Be there on July 31!

Even the “landlubbers” among us will love the Seafood Festival in Landsville, which will take place on August 7 and 8 and is set to feature delicious fish/shellfish, music, and wine.

The Watershed Butterfly Festival will migrate to the Watershed Reserve in Hopewell Township on August 7, where kids can learn about people’s impact on butterflies and their habitats and how to protect Mother Earth. Take a tour of the Kate Gorrie Butterfly House and Insect Zoo and enjoy live entertainment from the Eyes of the Wild (a live exotic rescue animal show) and the Trenton Circus Squad. And your little ones will love the “Butterfly and Bug Parade!”

The New Jersey State Fair in Augusta August 7-14, features rides, games and all the carnival food you can eat. Plus, they have amazing arts and crafts on display in their 4-H building, the unbeatable Sussex County Horse Show and lots of live animals to check out in the agriculture section. There’s even a demolition derby (August 8  & 9) and Monster Truck show (August 10) for an extra admission fee.

You may want to leave your kids behind for this one, but the Cape May Craft Beer, Music & Crab Festival is definitely worth it: on August 14 and 15, enjoy various crab dishes, pulled pork, and shrimp along with local craft beers, all while you are serenaded by live music.

Michael Arnone’s 31st Annual Crawfish Fest at the Sussex County Fairgrounds from August 27-29 is a feast for all your senses. Dine on authentic Louisiana crawfish, jambalaya, Southern fried chicken and other classic dishes— plus NOLA staples like beignets and chicory coffee— while groovin’ to traditional blues, R&B and jazz from musical artists and groups such as Big Sam’s Funky Nation and the New Orleans Suspects.  

If you’re looking for a boozy end to the season, check out the Wine Down Summer festival, which will be taking place at the RiverWinds Community Center in West Deptford from August 28-29.