It's time to kiss winter good-bye and spring into outdoor festival and fair season. Whether you choose to hop on carnival rides, stroll the streets of your favorite downtown, dance to live music, sample delicious eats, or do all of the above, there's something for everyone at these lively and family-friendly New Jersey spring fests.
Read on for 30 of our picks, from Earth Day celebrations to strawberry festivals. And for more spring action, check out Mommy Poppins' Spring Fun Guide for New Jersey Kids.
Easter and Springtime Family Festival – Chester
Through April 8 (except Easter Sunday)
Head to Alstede Farms to enjoy scenic hayrides around the farm, visits with barnyard animals, a meet-and-greet with the Easter Bunny, egg hunts, games, pony rides, a moon bounce, campfire-roasted marshmallows, and lots more.
Savor the spring weather at the Essex Country Cherry Blossom Festival. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala
2018 Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival – Newark
Weekends through April 7-15
You won't want to miss this festival held among the gorgeous blooms in Branch Brook Park. Highlights include the Children’s One-Mile Fun Run/Walk and Essex County Family Day, both on April 14. Top off the festivities with Bloomfest on April 15, featuring Japanese cultural demos, live music, children’s activities, a craft marketplace, food, and more. Admission to Family Day and Bloomfest are free.
Dino Day & Bug Bonanza Festival – Camden
Celebrate dinosaurs and insects while digging for fossils in the Camden Children's Garden popular Dino Garden. Kids can participate in themed educational activities and crafts.
Earth Day 2018 – Jersey City
Celebrate Earth Day and spring at Liberty State Park, where the festivities begin with a 5K family run and walk, followed by the Earth Day Fair and kids' obstacle course. Admission is free.
Edison Earth Day Celebration – Edison
This eighth annual celebration features environmentally conscious vendors and presenters. Activities include volunteer plantings, an eco-tour and discussion of Papaianni Lake, a rock wall, bounce tent, and fishing derby.
Daffodil Day – Summit
Celebrate spring and the Earth among thousands of daffodils at this festive, family-fun event at Reeves-Reed Arboretum. Highlights include live performances, the return of the Green Goats Petting Zoo, green themed games and crafts, an outdoor market, and more.
Stirling Street Fair – Stirling
Stop by this annual event for international foods, live music, arts and crafts, antiques, a climbing wall, rides, games and a petting zoo. Admission is free.
Millburn Street Fair – Millburn
This street fair features arts and crafts, live entertainment, activities for the kids, yummy street fair food, and much more.
Cape May Spring Festival – Cape May
April 27–May 20
Take in everything spring has to offer at the country's first seaside resort. The festival includes a chocolate tasting tour, a ghosts of Cape May trolley tour, Mother's Day jazz brunch, antique shows, private home tours, wine tastings, Physick Estate scavenger hunt, and much more. Spend some quality time at the beautiful beaches while you're there. See website for various locations and prices.
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Participate in the world's largest egg toss at Rutgers Day. Photo courtesy of the event
Rutgers Day – New Brunswick, Newark, Camden
Experience hands-on learning activities and demonstrations, enjoy performances by musicians and dancers, and more on this family fun day that takes place on all three Rutgers campuses.
Touch-A-Truck – Scotch Plains
Back for its third year, this free event by the JCC of Central NJ gives kids the chance to explore vehicles of all types, including public service, emergency, utility, construction, landscaping, transportation, and delivery. The JCC's Camp Yachad will provide inflatables and games, and music and food trucks round out the afternoon. Hold the Horn hour will be from 1-2pm.
Kids get the feel for driving big rigs at Touch-a-Truck at the Watchung Reservation. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala
Wild Earth Fest – Mountainside
This environmental festival at Trailside Nature & Science Center in the Watchung Reservation includes live animals, music, a recycling Olympics, crafts, and even a Touch-a-Truck event where kids can climb aboard big trucks and emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks. The adjacent playground means you can spend the whole day here!
Enjoy art stations, music, and more at Communverisity Arts Fest in Princeton. Photo courtesy of the event
Communiversity ArtFest – Princeton
With hundreds of artists, crafters, and vendors, plus live entertainment on six stages (including kid-friendly activities and performances), this event draws families from miles around to downtown Princeton and the famed university.
Annual Spring Festival – Hackettstown
This annual spring event has that old-time festival flair, including carnival rides, food vendors, games, live bands, and more. The festival is held on the grounds behind Centenary College. Admission is free.
Ocean City Spring Block Party – Ocean City
Head down the shore for this fun-filled festival with more than 350 craft and food vendors, along with live music. While you're there, kick off ride season at Gillian's Wonderland Pier, which is officially open! Festival admission is free.
Secaucus Green Festival – Secaucus
This eco-friendly celebration of Earth has vendors, hourly presentations, pony rides, exotic animals, music, and river eco-cruises.
Kite Day – Princeton
Kites will sail through the air over the farm's 10-acre orchard this weekend. Make and decorate your own kite, buy a pre-made kite from the farm store, or bring your own. Kids can also play barnyard games before taking a tractor-drawn wagon ride around the farm. A sheep-shearing demonstration will take place on Sunday.
30th Annual Spring Fling – Westfield
Come out to Westfield and celebrate spring! This festival, which takes place over several downtown blocks, features vendors, food, KidZone activities, the Bovella’s Pie Eating Contest, and more. Admission is free.
RELATED: Pick Your Own Strawberry Farms and Festivals in New Jersey
Be your favorite superhero at the Children's Festival at Historic Smithville. Photo courtesy of the event
Children’s Festival at Historic Smithville – Absecon
Enjoy a family fun day at this festival in Historic Smithville and Village Greene. The lineup includes face-painting, animals, train rides, games, a puppet show, and more. This event is free, but some Historic Smithville activities have fees.
New Jersey Seafood Festival – Belmar
Head over to Belmar for one of the largest seafood festivals in the country. Sample yummy dishes from area restaurants, enjoy live music ,and visit the chiddren's activity area for special games and entertainment.
NJ State Chili & Salsa Cookoff – Toms River
Calling chili and salsa fans big and small! On the roster at this festival are live bands, contests, games, rides, martial arts, and, of course, chili and salsa sampling.
Fairy & Pirate Festival – Mount Olive
May 19 (Rain date May 20)
The wee fae folk and swashbuckling buccaneers are returning to overtake Turkey Brook Park and turn it into a magical wonderland of games, rides, and activities. The fun inclues bounce castles, walk-the-plank giant slides, face painting, pirate challenges, crafts, games, pony rides, dancing, and more. Attendees are encouraged to come in costume.
Ocean Fun Days – Sandy Hook
This two-day festival celebrates the ocean with exhibits, classes, nature tours, and children’s activities all about our coastal environment. Activities at both locations include seining (a type of net fishing), coastal crafts, an energy-saving scavenger hunt, kids' fishing clinics, face painting, touch tanks, a student science fair competition, and fiddler crab races.
Take in the thrill of a jousting match at the New Jersey Renaissance Faire. Photo by Jesse C Photography
The New Jersey Renaissance Faire – Bordentown
May 19–June 3 (weekends); May 31 and June 1 for schools and homeschoolers
Interact with a cast of historical characters, enjoy exciting shows (jousting, stunts, sword fighting, wizards, archery, flame throwers, dancers, musicians, and more!), and visit the merchants and vendors at this Liberty Lake festival. Costumes welcome.
We can't wait for strawberry picking season, or the festivals! Photo courtesy Johnson's Corner Farm
Johnson's Corner Farm Strawberry Festival – Medford
May 25-27, June 1-3
Johnson's Corner Farm kicks off strawberry festival season with two weekends of festivities, including hayrides, a barbecue, gem mining, and tons of strawberry treats.
Fit & Fun Festival – Camden
This fun festival at Camden Children's Garden showcases easy and fun ideas for a healthy lifestyle, with a focus on simple physical activities and nutritious eating. Kids can enjoy educational activities in support of healthy living.
Woodland Park Street Fair – Woodland Park
Don't miss this busy block party–style festival, which is chock-full of spring activities including kiddie rides, face painting, sand art, temporary tattoos, pony rides, and a petting zoo.
Our Lady of Grace Funfest – Hoboken
Bring the family to this old-fashioned carnival at Church Square Park, with games, food, pony rides, face painting, a bounce house, raffles, and much more.
Garwood Rocks – Garwood
There will be fun for all ages at this downtown Garwood event. Enjoy the vendors, food, KidZone with rides and activities, petting zoo and pony rides at the Garwood Y, classic car show, live entertainment, and more.
National Marina Day – Pirate Spirit! – Leonardo
At this event hosted by Leonardo State Marina, take part in a free youth fishing tournament, take a paddle on the bay, and dress as your favorite pirate and walk the plank in the pirate parade. Head over to the Nature Center to learn about the animals, watch a live snake feeding, and more. Admission is free.
Top photo: Knight School at the New Jersey Renaissance Faire. Photo by Jesse C Photography