Have you recovered from all your Easter egg hunting? There’s still plenty of spring fun to be had, including a ton of fantastic Earth Day events to celebrate the recent holiday. Got a bunch of five-and-unders that you need to entertain? We’ve got perfect activities that cater just to them, and free events if you’re on a tight budget.
And since it’s already almost May (yeah, we know!), fairs and festivals season is really starting to get underway, including the big Rutgers Day festival, a medieval Renaissance Faire, a bacon fest (yes!) and so much more. And if you haven’t checked out some of NJ’s best gardens (especially Holland Ridge with thousands of tulips currently in bloom), now’s the time to get your major flower fix. Looking for great events in your neighborhood, check our calendar for tons more.
ALL WEEKEND LONG
Don your best really retro garb, and take a trip back to the olden days…back before iPhones, when knights, jesters and kings and queens ruled the land. Watch some sword fighting, eat some traditional cuisines and maybe your youngest will even get the high honor of becoming a prince, princess or even get tasked with the gruesome job of Renaissance rat catcher.
Overpeck Park Carnival
Head to the massive Overpeck Park for an assortment of rides, games and food for the family. And if the kids (or you) get tired of the dizzy rides, visit one of our favorite playgrounds or check out the neighboring Field Station: Dinosaurs.
$2/ticket, $30/unlimited wristband
Bacon. Wine. Playground. Need we say more? BaconFest at Laurita Winery has 27 food gourmet food trucks (all of whom will feature the weekend’s star ingredient), their wines to taste, some chill music and sangria. And while you’ll love it, so will the kids who will run wild at the playground and delight in the Saturday night fireworks.
Saturday: $10 online, $12 at the door. Sunday: $8 online and $10 at the door. Persons under 20 are free
Lambertville/New Hope, PA
What’s a shad? Yeah, we didn’t know either, but it’s a herring-like fish that gets its full due at this inter-state festival. Indulge the kids with carnival rides on the NJ side in Lambertville, and then head across the bridge to New Hope to indulge in all kinds of foods (not just fish!). But don’t miss the shad hauling demonstrations, where you can see fisherman work with nets to catch this annual haul.
Waretown Spring Wine Festival
If you’ve got some grown-up free time this weekend, grab your girlfriends and head to this spring wine fest. At this lakeside venue, where you can sample beverages from NJ’s best wineries.
$20 in advance, $30 at the door, $5 for designated drivers
- Photo courtesy Sesame Street Live
Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic
The State Theater plays host to your favorite muppets. When Elmo meets magician Justin, he wants to learn all the tricks of the trade. He’ll find it’s alright to make mistakes, and as long as he works hard and practices, he can accomplish anything. Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby and other characters will also share their own experiences and adventures through dance numbers, music and more.
Tickets start at $15
The Sound of Music
The hills are alive in Austria, where Maria and the von Trapp family will hit the stage for a production of this musical set in 1938. Perfect for the whole family, even if they aren’t 16 going on 17.
Tickets range from $49-89
SATURDAY (April 27)
25th Anniversary Dog Walk & Pet Fair
Dress up your furry family member in his cutest superhero garb for this annual event benefiting the Monmouth County SPCA. Your pooch can compete in contests, while you listen to music, shop for doggie treats and snack on human food. If you don’t have a pup, you can still attend, and maybe even check out the adoptable animal table for your new best friend.
$25 in advance, $30 at door, $5 without a dog
19th Annual Earth Day Festival
From a live animal show to a sing- along, this Earth Day fest at Echo Hill Park is pulling out all the stops. Take a hike around the park, meet with 4-H organizations, work on crafts made from recycled materials and play games. Hop in a canoe or cozy up by the campfire and roast s’mores during storytime.
39th Annual Cattus Island Nature Festival
Hang out at this Cattus Island County Park nature fest, where you and the kids can stop by programs, go on nature walks, try archery, watch bug races and more.
Cranford Street Fair & Craft Show
Downtown Cranford will be transformed with this big street fair, filled with martial arts exhibitions, a petting zoo, a game trailer, kids’ rides, vendors booths and street food.
Brush up on your prehistoric knowledge at the Morris Museum. Kids will get a chance to touch real fossils, meet a dino expert and hit the BASF Kids’ Lab for prehistoric activities, then hit the Touch the Music workshop for a surprise from Field Station: Dinosaurs.
Included with museum admission
Feis at the Beach
Introduce the kids to the world of competitive Irish Dancing. There’ll be over 1,300 athletes trying to kick their way to a win. And you’ll be able to sample some tasty treats in the Irish soda bread competition.
Monster Energy AMA Supercross
This high octane event at MetLife Stadium is filled with competitive off-road motorcycle pros chasing each other around a crazy custom tracks with jumps and more, as they race to see who will be the world champion. The action starts at 4:30 pm.
Morris County Park Palooza
With more than 20 food trucks, a biergarten, live music and free face painting and games for the kiddos, this festival at the Lewis Morris County Park really is an awesome way to spend a spring day.
- Photo courtesy Spartan Race
New Jersey Spartan Kids Race
Take your lil’ athletes to this race, where they’ll get a chance to get as messy as they want. This obstacle adventure race will challenge them to climb and crawl their way to the finish line. Every kid will get a medal. Advance registration is encouraged.
Registration is $25.99-$47.99
Camden, New Brunswick
New Jersey’s fame college is opening up both of their campuses for some cultural fun. There are hands-on activities and games (like building a mobile computing device or making your own graduation cap), demos and exhibits (on topics like yoga, mini-forensics and virtual reality puzzles) and cultural activities (like turban tying with the Sikh Student Association). Who knows, it might inspire your little ones to becoming a future Scarlet Knight.
The Velveteen Rabbit
This classic children’s book comes to life on stage this weekend at the Paper Mill Playhouse. A young boy and his Velveteen Rabbit will go on adventures from caves to the ocean to find out what friendship truly means.
Tickets are $15
Volunteer Nature Path and Beach Cleanup
Don’t let Earth Day be just once a year. Teach the kids the importance of helping the environment year-round. Start at Liberty State Park and assist in cleaning up the shoreline and removing weeds and planting new shrubs along the Nature Path.
Free, registration required
Warren County Arts, Sweets & Crafts Festival
There’ll be free kids crafts, make and take activities, live music, glass blowing, artists and vendors, food and more.
Wizards & Witches Festival
Bring your Harry Potter lover in her best Hermione garb to Old Lafayette Village. You could win the costume contest marvel at the magic of science show and visit vendors, psychics, healers and more. Then, hit the photo booth, wizarding hat show, Quidditch duel and join the magical map quest.
SUNDAY (April 28)
Paramus Food Truck Festival
What’s better than a beer and sangria garden? A garden that also has live music, tons of food and activities for kids (like face painting!). There’ll be more than 25 food trucks parked at the Garden State Plaza for perusing.
$5/ages 10 and up
- Photo courtesy Sheep to Shawl Festival
Sheep to Shawl Festival
This rain or shine event at the Miller-Cory House Museum will demo the traditional style of sheep shearing. Watch demos of spinning, weaving and even butter churning. Free refreshments are included.
$4/13 & up; $3/3-12; free for ages 2 and under
FIND MORE EVENTS IN YOUR AREA
If you have any upcoming events you’d like to add to our calendar, click here!