After the 4th of July fireworks (which will be happening in some towns through Sunday), it’s time to kick summer into high gear. Start your weekend with a trip to State Fair Meadowlands in East Rutherford (it’s your last chance to see chainsaws, hypnotists, rides and illusions!) or hit the tracks with Thomas and friends in Phillipsburg.
Can you smell the sugary funnel cake goodness? Head to NJ’s largest fair to overindulge in fried Oreos and greasy treats, watch the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show (hello, chainsaws!), get hypnotized and marvel at extreme illusions at the biggest fair in the Garden State. Visit the petting zoo and hop on classic rides like chair swings and a drop tower.
Rain or shine, the fest must go on at the County College of Morris. Think carnival rides and games, live entertainment gourmet food trucks and of course, fireworks on Saturday night.
Head to the boardwalk for collectible cards (think Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh and sports), LEGOs, Funko Pops, comic books, beanie babies, jerseys and more. There’ll also be a celebrity autograph session like Dave “The Hammer” Schultz.
Beginning July 2, the Cumberland County Fair will host a livestock auction and comedy magic show (which features a live rabbit, doves, music and audience participation). Plus, fill up on chicken BBQ and stick around for the fireworks. Come back on Saturday for the demolition derby!
Beginning July 2, corral the kids for midway games and rides, fair food, kiddie rides and fireworks on the 4th of July. The fest benefits local competitive youth sports.
Free admission, $30/unlimited ride wristband
A ticket to this bash includes wagon rides, pedal tractors, puppet shows, a barnyard filled with animals, music and children’s games. There’ll also be pony rides, face painting and plenty of treats like blueberry-apple crisp, muffins and cobbler to dig into.
$10/admission, free/ages 3 and under
Step outside into the world of paleontology with your mini archaeologists (and Jurassic World lovers), who can dig through 35 tons of sand and discover more than 60 fossils like T-rex bones and teeth, an egg nest, Triceratops skull, dragonfly fossil and more. There’ll also be a Jurassic marine reptile zone this year.
Included with admission
Catch Thomas the Train Engine while bringing the little ones along for the ride. On a short train ride, meet friends like Sir Topham Hatt, the controller of the railway. The kids can also get temporary tattoos, work on arts and crafts and listen to a story from Thomas himself.
SATURDAY (JULY 6)
At first, Milo thinks his new tollbooth is just an ordinary toy, but when his mini car goes through the gateway, he stumbles across a Dictionopolis, a fantastical land that’ll teach him a few important lessons.
Lay out a blanket (and bring a few snacks!) at the Community Center stage beginning at 7 pm for live music, then stick around after sunset for a silver screen flick.
Dress your kids in their princess or pirate best before heading to Jenkinson’s Aquarium. Whether they rule a kingdom or the high seas, the kids can go on a quest for treasure, make crafts, visit the tattoo station and play games.
Included with admission
This fest kicks off with live music, vendors, a kids zone and more than 15 food trucks at New Jersey Motorsports Park. If you arrive before 5 pm, there’ll be go-karts, axe-throwing and paintball, too, and be sure to stick around for fireworks at the end of the night.
All ages are invited to try their aeronautical skills and build a rocket. Kids must be accompanied by an adult and there’ll be a short meeting before you get to building. Registration required.
SUNDAY (JULY 7)
Celebrate National Ice Cream Month at the Whippany Railway Museum on a 10-mile round-trip train ride, where a ticket also gets you a scoop of ice cream at the Snack Depot.
$16/adults, $11/ages 12 and under, free/ages 1 and under
Your lil’ royals ages 7 and up can use aluminum wire and tools to create their own majestic headpiece at the Eclectic Chic Boutique. Registration required.
Bring your blankets and chairs to Duke Island Park to listen to Jobonanno & the Godsons’ “Spirit of Asbury Revue,” which’ll remind you of Jersey Classics like Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Southside Johnny.
For more fun this weekend, check out our complete list of fairs and festivals, and if the rain puts a damper on your plans, take a look at our favorite indoor activities. Got a bunch of five-and-unders to entertain? We’ve got fun activities that cater just to them, plus free events for the whole fam. Check out our calendar for events near you or browse events in your county below.
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