Now that the school year’s officially over, it’s time to kick summer into high gear. Start your weekend festivities with a trip to State Fair Meadowlands in East Rutherford (chainsaws, hypnotists, rides and illusions!), start your patriotic celebrations for the 4th early in Montville or help the kids hop on their first pony ride in Basking Ridge.
For more fun this weekend, be sure to check out our complete list of fairs and festivals, and if the rain puts a damper on your plans, we’ve got plenty of activities to do indoors. Got a bunch of five-and-unders to entertain? We’ve got perfect activities that cater just to them, plus free events for those on a budget. If you’re looking for great events in your neighborhood, check out our calendar for tons more.
Can you smell the sugary funnel cake goodness? From June 21 through July 7, 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.
Take the kids on a blast to the past with a “pastport,” which can be stamped at each building they visit after completing a take-home craft or activity, like writing with a quill pen, carding wool or making a pinch pot.
Free/ages 3 and under, $12/ages 3-12, $14/adults
There’ll be big bouncy houses, a beer garden, more than 15 food trucks and live entertainment waiting for you all weekend.
Bring the kids to a night of amusement rides (both small and large!) and fireworks at Chubb Park. Unlimited ride wristbands will be available for purchase.
Hit the bushes at Snyder’s Farm when they’re full and lush with delicious blueberries! Whether you’re looking to get the kids outside or grab this tasty fruit to make a delicious treat, Snyder’s is the place to be.
Snap on a wristband and take unlimited spins on 20 rides, then hit Kiddie Town for face painting, balloon animals and crafts. Don’t miss the hot dog and pie eating contests, live entertainment and Saturday night’s fireworks extravaganza.
Free admission, $10/parking
FRIDAY (JUNE 28)
There’ll be more than a dozen educational events, from lectures and performances to workshops and poetry readings. Kids can listen to artists talk about their work, watch films and engage with professionals.
The kids (ages 15 and under) can grab a teammate and do their best to find items listed on the challenge and compete for prizes. Your lil’ ones will need a smartphone and the Goose Chase app to participate. Registration required.
SATURDAY (JUNE 29)
Spend a musical afternoon with Steve Pullara, who’ll bring put on an interactive, lively show for the whole family.
Dig into ribs, brisket, pork, chicken and plenty of sides grilled up by top pitmasters, plus nine bands, five top chefs, a juried rib cook-off and live music.
Families can learn how to limbo and hula dance from professional South Pacific Island Dancers, then hit the sustainable environmental beach walk to learn about the local shells and marine life. There’ll also be volleyball and lifeguard competitions, sand sculpting lessons, a beer and margarita garden and fire dancer performances, plus games, music, face painting, a treasure hunt and more.
Ages 2-7 can hop on a pony for the first time! Mom and dad can introduce their lil’ riders to their new furry friends, then listen to a pony-themed story. Registration required.
$10-12/child and parent pair, $5-6/additional sibling
Sip beer, sangria, a margarita or mojito while the kids visit the magician or get their faces painted. There’ll also be food trucks and music, and you can bring your furry four-legged friends. Don’t forget to bring a can or bag of dog or cat food or pet supplies.
$5, free/ages 10 and under
Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? Add to your lil’ swimmer’s mermaid collection at this celebration, which’ll feature more than 30 vendors selling mermaid art, jewelry, clothing and crafts, plus there’ll be face painting and a promenade on the boardwalk (think belly dances and prizes!).
SUNDAY (JUNE 30)
Pack your car with lawn chairs and blankets, then park it at LaGrande Park for live bands, food trucks, a car show, a beer and wine garden and a Kid Zone with rides and activities for your younger crew.
Enter the blueberry capital of the world for a Kiwanis pancake breakfast, then visit vendors’ and crafters booths, see entertainment and more.
Bring your lawn chairs to this star-spangled event, which features elementary and high school students singing traditional 18th-century and present day patriotic tunes. Eat a piece of birthday cake (plus join the “happy birthday” sing-along) and learn the history behind each song.
FIND MORE EVENTS IN YOUR AREA
If you have any upcoming events you’d like to add to our calendar, click here!