Summer festivals may be retired for the year, but lucky us, it's harvest time! We've already celebrated a number of great family fairs in New Jersey this September, but the real-deal harvest celebrations are just gearing up.
From hayrides to pumpkin decorating (and picking), pie contests to scarecrow-building, live animals to live music, these local fall-tastic fairs offer something for everyone in the family. Some even incorporate a little early Halloween fun. Read on for nearly 20 great harvest fests in New Jersey, including the Harvest Home Festival at the Historic Longstreet Farm, a Pumpkin Palooza in Cherry Hill, and the annual Hoboken Harvest Festival.
For an unconventional fall adventure on wheels, be sure to check out our list of Halloween and Fall Train Rides, as well as our Fall Fun Guide for more seasonal activities around the Garden State.
Great Pumpkin Festival — Vernon
September 17-November 6
If you are looking for the one-stop shop of harvest fairs, Heaven Hill Farm's annual event touts itself as the largest fall festival in northern New Jersey, taking place weekends and select weekdays through early November. This event has it all: a hay maze, a spider web crawl, a monster slingshot, a boo barn, an obstacle course, duck and pig races, and much, much more. Carnival rides and pony rides are available for an additional fee.
Enjoy a truly old-fashioned harvest fest at the 19th-century-themed festival at the Historic Village of Allaire.
19th Century Fall Harvest Festival — Farmingdale
The Historic Village at Allaire hosts this annual harvest celebration, where kids can try cider pressing or old-time dancing and games, and listen to live music and storytelling. Kids and adults alike will be spellbound by demonstrations of militia, blacksmithing, and hearth cookery. Horse and wagon rides will also be available.
Hopewell Harvest Fair — Hopewell
There's more than enough fun to fill a fall day at this annual festival. Hop on a pony or a hay wagon, build your own scarecrow, visit the petting zoo, try face painting or sand art, and romp around the straw maze. Plus, there are contests galore, including a bake-off and photography competition—and don't forget to bring along your pooch for the fair's doggie dress-up contest. FREE
Harvest Home Festival — Holmdel
If a quieter, simpler harvest celebration is more your style, bring the family to Historic Longstreet Farm, where the old-fashioned fun includes wagon rides, corn-husking, craft demonstrations, and a pie-eating contest. Don't forget to say hi to the farm animals. FREE
Union County Harvest Festival — Mountainside
Trailside Nature Center is the perfect setting for an everything-fall festival. Check out the demonstrations, music, live entertainment, toys, games, and Native American crafts and cooking demonstrations. Or, for a nominal fee, see how your family's scarecrow-construction skills measure up in the ever-popular Build a Scarecrow Contest. FREE
Harvest Day Festival — Elmer
Your kids won't go hungry at Elmer's small-town festival, featuring delicious food from local restaurants. When you've had your fill, sample the live entertainment, fire-truck rides, and other family-friendly activities—including a 5K race and one-mile fun run. FREE
Harvest Homecoming — Scotch Plains
Everyone's invited to celebrate the success of the new Scotch Plains Fanwood Community Garden's first-year harvest. Come to the historic Frazee House family farm for live music, crafts, pony rides, face painting, a petting zoo, food trucks, and square dancing. FREE
Harvest Festival — Ringwood
Hitch a hayride, decorate pumpkins, and enjoy more family-friendly activities like music and a plant sale at this fall festival put on by the New Jersey Botanical Gardens. FREE
Pumpkin Palooza — Cherry Hill
Double the fun at this festival, hosted jointly by Springdale Farms and the Garden State Discovery Museum. Both sites feature seasonal activities, including pony rides and hayrides, a moon bounce, crafts, a corn maze, pumpkin-painting, and more. Day passes are available at both locations.
South Jersey Pumpkin Show — Woodstown
Got a pumpkin fan in the family? This is the fall festival they've been waiting for. Cheer on the child competitors in the Little Miss & Mister Pumpkin Show Pageant (open to children ages 4-9), eat your pumpkiny heart out at the Pumpkin Fun Food Contest, ogle the giant pumpkins at the Pumpkin Weigh-Off, and check out the Giant Pumpkin Pyramid. Other activities include a decorated stroller parade, kids' costume contest, scary hayrides, and a visit from the Headless Horseman. To top off the day, try out a helicopter ride over the gorgeous fall foliage of Salem County. FREE
Hometown Harvest Fair — Hightstown
Celebrate the 14th anniversary of this traditional fall festival, featuring arts and crafts, delicious food, and live entertainment all day long. A special children’s area offers pony rides, a petting zoo, bouncy houses, and performances. Don't miss the pedal-boat rides on the lake, the dunk tank, and the Ducky Derby race. FREE
Fall Festival — Allentown
This fall festival takes place along Allentown's charming Main Street. Highlights include local artisans, crafters, and food vendors, as well as live music. The Civil War encampment, classic car show, and a host of kids' activities, will keep the whole family entertained. FREE
Dunellen HarvestFest — Dunellen
Bring the family to Washington Park for this fourth annual downtown festival, with food, carriage rides, contests, dancing, music, and kids' activities. If you're feeling crafty, don't miss the chance to enter the apple pie, art, or scarecrow contests. FREE
Harvest Festival for Kids — Glen Ridge
The Women's Club of Glen Ridge hosts this kid-centric festival, complete with pony rides, a petting zoo, harvest crafts, face-painting, stories, music, cupcake-decorating, and pumpkin-painting.
Fine Crafts Fall Festival and Family Day — Mays Landing
Enjoy seasonal crafts and performances, a "hay toss," train rides, music, and bounce house at this local fall festival. Buy a pumpkin there and decorate it onsite (pumpkin/paints cost $5). FREE
History and Harvest Celebration — Short Hills
Enjoy the fall season at the pretty Greenwood Gardens. Roam the sculpture-filled grounds, enjoy pony rides, an apple hunt, crafts, music, and food.
Chatsworth Cranberry Festival — Chatsworth
If you need a break from all those pumpkins, check out one of the berry best festivals in the mid-Atlantic region, celebrating New Jersey's famous cranberry harvest. Besides countless cranberry treats, the fair will feature visiting wolves from the Howling Woods Farm, live music, and antique cars. FREE
Find your way out of this urban corn maze at the Hoboken Harvest Festival.
Hoboken Harvest Festival — Hoboken
Come to Pier A Park for pony rides, a petting zoo, pumpkin painting, hayrides and trackless train rides, face painting, a moon walk, crafts, and more. FREE
Goblins in the Garden Family Festival — Camden
Calling all ghosts and goblins! Break out the costumes a week early and join in the Halloween festivities at the Camden Children’s Garden. Hop aboard a Haunted Train Ride, meet characters in the garden, and trick-or-treat in the Costume Parade.
Top image: Pick a pumpkin at the South Jersey Pumpkin Show. All photos courtesy of the festivals.