historic ship festivalThe school year is coming to a close and that deserves some celebrating! So get the gang together and check out one of these upcoming local festivals for a well-deserved kick-start to summer bliss.

Festival de Aibonito, Puerto Rico Family Festival

Camden Children's Garden in Camden, NJ
Saturday, June 23 – Sunday, June 24

Enjoy the beauty of tropical plants inside the Plaza de Aibonito, Puerto Rico. This colorful cultural celebration includes Hispanic arts and crafts, games, Puerto Rican activities, and tasty tropical fruit. This festival is a part of Camden’s Parada San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist parade). There's also a tropical concession stand. Registration required.

Rockfest 2012

Mercer County Park in Hamilton, NJ
Saturday, June 23

This event will feature live music from local bands; a car, truck, and motorcycle show; an amateur grilling contest; drum circle facilitator Rhythmania; strolling magician Magic Matt Schick; children's games; and more

State Fair Meadowlands

Meadowlands Fairgrounds in East Rutherford, NJ
Friday, June 22 – Sunday, July 8

Get amped for seventeen days full of family fun, including rides, attractions, food, circus acts, live bands, petting zoo, pig racing, a hypnotist, and much more. Tickets required.

Fireman's Carnival and Fireworks

Chubb Park in Chester Twp., NJ
Tuesday, June 19 – Saturday, June 23

Celebrate the beginning of summer at the annual Fireman's Carnival at Chubb Park. There will be food, rides, entertainment, games, and a fireworks display scheduled for Friday at 10 pm.


Lincoln Park Bandshell in Rutherford, NJ
Saturday, June 23

Cupcakefest is an all-day concert and festival presented by Sweet Avenue Bake Shop. Cupcakefest will feature live music, crafters, vendors, cupcakes, raffles, and a cupcake-eating contest. All proceeds from raffles will be donated to the John A. Bukowski Shelter for Animals in Bloomfield, NJ and the NJSPCA. Attendees are encouraged to bring a monetary or pet food/supply donation for the shelter and/or the ASPCA.

Firefly Festival

Terhune Orchards in Princeton, NJ
Sunday, June 24

Wings and antennas come out for the annual Firefly Festival. Children can make their own wings, antennas, and bug boxes. They'll listen to firefly stories, catch fireflies in their bug boxes, and enjoy live music by Miss Amy and Her Big Kids Band. There will also be gymnastics, an obstacle course, and pony and wagon rides.

Summit Festival of Fine Arts and Crafts

Downtown Summit, NJ
Sunday, June 24

Artists and craftsmen display and sell artwork while musicians and vocalists provide free entertainment.

Giralda 2012 Music and Arts Festival

Giralda Farms Corporate Park in Madison, NJ
Sunday, June 24

Relax on the lawns of the former Dodge Estate. There will be a concert by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra with soloists from Opera NJ; kids activities including origami, painting, contests, and a clown; an art show and sale; as well as special dessert treats available from The Artist Baker and the vintage ice cream truck.

Jump and Jive Carnival

Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill, NJ
Wednesday, June 27 – Saturday, June 30

Kick off your summer with this bee-boppin’ bouncin’ bash full of fun, food, and frolicking with family and friends. It’s a jumpin’ and jivin’ jamboree you won’t want to miss! Tickets required.

North River Historic Ship Festival (shown)

Hudson River Park Pier in New York, NY
Thursday, June 28 – Sunday, July 1

A fleet of historic NYC vessels is hosting four days of activity featuring free tugboat and fireboat rides, free ship tours, and more. The major attraction for kids is the Showboat Circus aboard Lehigh Valley Railraod Barge No. 79 on July 1 at 1 and 4 pm, with comedy, juggling, a trapeze artist, and more. Tickets required for certain events.

Junebug ArtFest

Downtown Metuchen, NJ
June 22 and 29

The festival is held each Friday night in June and features a wide array of open air exhibits, interactive art events, open mic sessions, and live music performances.

Photo credit: Mitch Waxman 2011.