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The Best Festivals and Fairs in New Jersey

by Paul Joseph  |  Published January 25, 2024

Separated from its more famous neighbour NYC by the Hudson River, New Jersey has plenty going for itself of its own – including a fine selection of yearly festivals and fairs.

A live stage performance at Rock Ribs & Ridges Festival (Photo: Rock Ribs & Ridges Festival)

Home to some 130 miles of Atlantic coastline, the northeastern U.S. state draws tens of millions of visitors each year with its boardwalk beaches, casinos and idyllic countryside, not to mention a glut of world-class restaurants. A busy programme of festivals and fairs also take place across New Jersey, spanning everything from music, to food, to artisanal crafts. Here are 10 of the best.

Rock Ribs & Ridges Festival

Each year, heralding the start of the summer season, the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta plays host to a fun-packed, three-day celebration of southern rock music and mouth-watering barbecue food. Some of the region’s finest musical talents and BBQ pitmasters assemble for the occasion, while beverage sellers are also on hand with a range of tasty libations to keep revellers well-refreshed so they can keep on partying till the lights go off. A choice of single-day tickets, three-day weekend passes, and weekend passes with campground access are all usually available for the festival.

The Sussex County Fairgrounds, Augusta / June each year

New Jersey Film Festival

(Photo: New Jersey Film Festival)

For over four decades, the New Jersey Film Festival, presented by The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, in association with the Rutgers University Program in Cinema Studies, has drawn lovers of the silver screen in their droves. Featuring over 40 movie screenings, the event is dedicated to the non-commercial exhibition of independent, classic, international, and experimental films and videos. Not only do audiences have the opportunity to view many independently-produced films, but also get to meet and engage with the filmmakers, actors, screenwriters and other production crew members throughout the festival.

Rutgers University, New Brunswick / January-February each year


Self-styled as a three-day celebration of creative energy and self-expression, Beardfest has been drawing festival-goers to South Jersey’s scenic Pinelands Preserve for over a decade. Attendees have the opportunity to listen to live music spanning a variety of genres as well as collaborate on large scale mural artworks, practice yoga, take part in assorted music-making activities and workshops, and even join a Get Tough 5K run. Overnight onsite camping is also available.

Paradise Lakes Campground, Hammonton / June each year

Barefoot Country Music Fest

One of New Jersey’s largest outdoor country music festivals, this action-packed four-day event routinely features a stellar line-up of some of the genre’s biggest stars, along with several up-and-coming acts and local favourites. Performances take place across multiple stages on the sandy shoreline of the resort city of Wildwood, offering visitors the chance to listen to some top-notch music against a scenic coastal backdrop. There are also numerous food, beverage and retail vendors open throughout the event.

Wildwood Beach, Wildwood / June each year

The Branchburg Country Fair

(Photo: The Branchburg Country Fair)

Food trucks, children’s rides, games, a petting zoo, vendors, craft-makers and a mesmerising firework display at nightfall are just some of what to expect at this popular annual fair in the small township of Branchburg. The all-day event is a major hit with families, whose children can roam free in the confines of White Oak Park. Be sure not to miss the Rodeo Rumble, the bubble party, and the hotly-contested pie-eating competition. Rugs on which to recline and enjoy the fireworks in their full glory are also recommended.

White Oak Park, Branchburg / September each year

Festival of Trees 

A cherished holiday tradition, visitors come to this festival from near and far to view the creative and whimsical displays adorning the Morven Museum’s elegant galleries, mantels, and porches, all artfully decorated by local businesses, garden clubs, and non-profit organisations. Themes and decorative accents celebrate history, pop culture, sustainability, and more – all designed to put attendees in the spirit of the season. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favourite decorative display, and while there is no official prize, the process provides a playful competition that encourages decorators to bring their patrons and supporters to Morven to foster a community celebrating seasonal joy.

Morven Museum & Garden, Princeton / April each year

Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival

(Photo: Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival)

Every year, well over 15,000 beer and music lovers storm through the festival gates at the Atlantic City Convention Center to celebrate America’s finest craft beers and the people who created them. Revellers can also groove to live music, savour delicious grub, watch live cooking demos and mixology seminars, explore cool vendors, and even take part in a 5K run – although not recommended after too many drinks. Included in your ticket price are beer samples and a commemorative tasting mug.

Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City / April each year

New Jersey Wine & Food Festival

Since its inaugural edition back in 2008, this festival has grown in stature as a showcase for culinary talent and now boasts a who’s who of attending chefs and winemakers from around the globe. During the event, which takes place at one of New Jersey’s most prestigious resorts, dedicated gastronomes have the chance to meet and mingle with the high-profile attendees. Notable guests at previous festivals have included the likes of Jose Andres, Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Thomas Keller, David Kinch and Michael White.

Crystal Springs Resort, Hamburg / May each year

Steel Mill Street Fair

(Photo: Steel Mill Street Fair)

In 2024, after more than four fruitful decades, the Bordertown Street Fair moved to the scenic seven-acre grounds of the historic Roebling Museum – site of the famous John A. Roebling Steel Mill – in the township of Florence, and was aptly rebranded as the Steel Mill Street Fair. At this new venue, the fun, family-friendly outdoor event is able to provide a more intimate, festive experience for guests and vendors, with expanded food choices, new attractions plus more time for families to enjoy the abundance of shopping, dining and free entertainment on offer.

Roebling Museum Roebling / May each year

The Big Brew Beer Festival

Held over two sessions at the Morristown Armory, this festival features over 175 styles of craft beer, providing afficionados with a great place to discover new beers and speak to leading brewery players. As well as lashings of independently-crafted amber nectar, there’s also music, food and entertainment galore, with proceeds going towards Morris Rugby Corporation, a local rugby organisation that promotes the development of the sport across Morris County.

The Morristown Armory, Morristown / March each year

Exit Zero Jazz Festival

(Photo: Exit Zero Jazz Festival)

Twice a year, every spring and fall, thousands of Jazz lovers descend on Cape May – self-styled as America’s original seaside resort – for this nationally-acclaimed festival. The music and sheer unadulterated energy can be heard and felt everywhere – on the streets in the form of New Orleans style second line parades; in the restaurants and clubs that burst at the seams with Jazz enthusiasts; and on the Main Stage, where international touring artists belt out their best tunes.

Cape May Convention Hall, Cape May / Editions in April & October