It’s May, which means there’s tons of outdoor fun to be had. Kickoff your weekend at the 4-H Spring Carnival in Bridgewater, or put on your stretchy pants for the Skylands Stadium Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival in Augusta or the Chester Food Truck Festival. The kids may also want to hang with Big Bird at Sesame Place for opening weekend, or check out high-flying action at the Belmar Kite Festival.
Got a bunch of five-and-unders to entertain? We’ve got perfect activities that cater just to them, and free events if you’re on a budget. Don’t forget, Sunday is also Cinco de Mayo, and we’ve found the spots to celebrate. If you’re looking for great events in your neighborhood, check our calendar for tons more.
ALL WEEKEND LONG
Elmo’s Springtacular Kickoff Weekend
It’s opening weekend at toddler heaven (aka Sesame Place). In addition to hopping on all the kid-friendly rides and seeing shows, you and your crew can hang with character faves like Abby Caddaby and Elmo. New for this year is Mr. Snuffleupagus, who’s making his debut appearance on Saturday, plus a reimagining of the park’s classic neighborhood. On both days, there’ll be a parade featuring your kids’ favorite Sesame Street characters.
If you’ve been missing the shore, head to Morey’s Piers in celebration of their 50th season. To celebrate, they’ll have live music and plenty of classic boardwalk foods (funnel cake…we’re looking at you). There’ll be kids’ activities, plus you can grab free samples of their Dippin’ Dots anniversary flavor: sea salt caramel piertzel. Don’t forget to watch the tram car!
St. George Greek Festival
Get your fix of moussaka and spanakopita at this lively annual festival. Celebrate Greek culture while indulging in traditional cuisine, listening to Bouzouki music and watching folk dancing. While you’re there, be sure to take a look at the church featuring pieces of the church imported from Greece.
27th Annual Hackettstown Spring Festival
Raise your hand if you love candy! Co-hosted by Mars Wrigley Confectionery, this fest gives you plenty of opportunities to win candies and snacks. Check out the Teddy Bear Hospital, where ages 3-6 can bring their sick and injured stuffed animals for special care. WRNJ will bring music, interviews and other fun, in addition to plenty of vendors with classic fest foods on rotation.
Your tween and teen might actually be into this (we swear!). The Meadowlands Expo Center will transform into the Upside Down for Stranger Things con. Stars of the show like Millie Bobby Brown (she plays Eleven) will be on hand. There’ll be meet and greets, music, shopping, a cosplay contest and trivia, plus a karaoke party. Online tickets are sold out and the few remaining will be sold on site.
Varies, tickets sold on site
SATURDAY (MAY 4)
Alice in Wonderland
Fall down the rabbit hole at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, where Lewis Carroll’s infamous tale will hit the stage. From the Cheshire Cat to the Mad Hatter, each of the story’s classic characters will sing, dance and spark imagination.
ECO Fair: Artful Living, Handmade & Homegrown
We love any excuse to head to WheatonArts’ Museum of American Glass. This weekend, go for unique handmade wares from local artists, live music, environmental organizations and art activities. Then, take a peek at the Rutgers Master Gardeners’ plants and herbs.
The Shore’s Biggest Kentucky Derby Party
It’s Derby Day! While you may not make it down to Kentucky, you can still don your best giant hats (enter the competition) and have a mint julep at the Monmouth Park Racetrack. It’s opening day for the track and a Family Fun Day, which means there’ll be a bounce house, pony rides and face painting. Even better? kids under 12 get in for free.
$5, free/ages 5 and under
Cape May Coast Guard Festival
The Coast Guard works hard to keep the shore and ocean safe all year round, and this weekend you can get a close-up tour of one of the actual ships. Check out a K-9 demonstration, meet the helicopter crew and see the search and rescue team in action. There’ll be food and beer on hand, as well as face painting, bounce houses and music.
There are a bunch of chances for kids to get up close and personal with everything from firetrucks to construction vehicles this month. At this one in Wyckoff, kids can climb, pull and push all the buttons, levers and automobile parts they desire. There’ll be a silent sensory-friendly hour at the beginning of the event.
Call for info
Secaucus 9th Annual Green Festival
Hit the 9th Annual Secaucus Green Festival and take a ride on a pontoon boat! While you’re there, you’ll learn about preservation efforts and get some hands-on animal time with a petting zoo and pony rides. For lunch, there are more than 50 food and green product vendors.
5th Annual Touch A Truck
This event will bring police vehicles, fire trucks, dump trucks and kids entertainment like clowns, face painting, bounce houses and more to Manahawkin Lake Park. The kids will love trying out full-size versions of their traditional Tonka trucks.
4-H Spring Carnival
If you’ve never been to a 4-H fair (or aren’t quite sure even what the 4-H does), think lots of cool agricultural stuff, as well as games, face painting, temporary tattoos, magic, prizes, cotton candy and a petting zoo.
Gloucester County Craftsmen & Home Show
Stroll through aisles of handmade works while the kids listen to live music, create their own crafts, hop on a pony and more. The little ones can also hit the painted rock hunt to search for more than 30 decorated spring rocks hidden around the grounds. There’ll also be a Little Miss & Mister Springtime Pageant for ages 4-8 and an All Breed Dog Parade & Show.
Chester Food Truck Festival
Bring blankets and chairs and set up in a central location for easy access to 20 food trucks. Take turns watching the kiddos get their faces painted while you sneak off to the beer and sangria garden.
$5/ages 11 and up, free/ages 10 and under
Skylands Stadium Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival
This festival combines a giant food truck and craft beer fest, so you can try more than 25 different types of foods and more than 100 kinds of craft brews (along with hard soda, wine and cider). There are carnival games and bounce houses, as well as backyard faves like Ladderball and KanJam.
SUNDAY (MAY 5)
2019 Ninth Annual Edison Earth Day Celebration
Take in the great outdoors at Papaianni Park, where the fam can learn about sustainability and check out demos like home composting before hitting the rock wall and fishing derby.
Belmar Kite Festival
Take to the skies at 3rd Avenue beach, or watch other kites catch a breeze.
15th Annual Junior League of Bergen County Touch-a-Truck
It’s touch-a-truck season at Garden State Plaza, where the kids can slip into the driver’s seat, beep horns and more. Go wild in the bounce house and get the kids’ faces painted.
$10/person, $30/family of four
Hoboken Spring Arts and Music Festival
This giant annual street fair is one sign that spring is officially in full swing. Maybe find the perfect gift for mom (Mother’s Day is next weekend!) made by one of the fest’s 300 crafters. Plus you can over indulge in classic festival food and take the kids to 3rd Street for rides, games, crafts, face painting and sand art.
Call for info
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