Weekend Fun: Thomas & Friends, Giant Pumpkin Carve, BrickFair 2017
Autumn is officially in full swing, and there's tons of fall fun to be had throughout the Garden State. This weekend, head to one of NJ's top family-friendly farms for events like the Great Pumpkin Festival at Heaven Hill Farm or the Fall Harvest Festival at Johnson's Corner Farm. Experience old-fashioned fun at Historic Longstreet Farm's Harvest Home Festival, or take a Harvest Moon Hayride at Alstede Farms.
There's plenty of indoor action, too: everyone's favorite tank engine rolls into Liberty Science Center on Saturday in a STEM-focused exhibit called Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails, and it's all about LEGO this weekend at BrickFair 2017 in Edison. Plus, more than 20 NJ museums will offer free admission on Saturday as part of Smithsonian Museum Day Live.
Find many more ideas for weekend fun in our Fall Fun Guide, which is packed with fall fairs, amazing corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and the best spots to go apple picking. And look to our Event Calendar for a full listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.
There will be plenty of cool (and a few creepy) LEGO creations on display at BrickFair 2017.
BrickFair 2017 – Edison
This can't-miss event for LEGO lovers features amazing displays including Star Wars, Bionicle, Mindstorms, trains, and much more. There will also be games, competitions, prizes, and plenty of shopping opportunities.
Morey's Piers Oktoberfest – Wildwood
Kids can get in on the Oktoberfest fun in a "Rootbier Garten" featuring pumpkin decorating and other activities. The festivities will also include music, German food, and beer for the grown-ups.
The spider web crawl is one of many kid-friendly attractions at Heaven Hill Farm's Great Pumpkin Festival.
Great Pumpkin Festival at Heaven Hill Farm – Vernon
Billed as the largest fall festival in northern NJ, this event offers more than 30 family-friendly activities, including a Wizard of Oz–themed corn maze, barnyard sports, hay crawl, dancing robot show, and much more.
Family Fall Fun Weekends at Terhune Orchards – Princeton
Pick your own apples, paint a pumpkin, take a tractor ride, listen to live country music, visit with barnyard animals, enjoy farm-fresh food, and more at Terhune Orchards' Family Fun Weekends.
Fall Harvest Festival at Johnson's Corner Farm – Medford
Head to Johnson's Corner Farm for live music, food, a five-acre corn maze, pumpkin and apple picking, hayrides, animal farm and Discovery Barnyard, gem mining, and more.
Saturday, September 23
Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails Opening Day – Jersey City
Thomas, Percy, Sir Topham Hatt, and the rest of the Island of Sodor gang come chuffing into Liberty Science Center today. In this hands-on exhibit for ages 2–7, kids can help Thomas and his friends solve a variety of problems, from sorting shapes to building tracks. If you can't make it this weekend, don't sweat it—Thomas & Friends will be at LSC until May!
21st Annual Giant Pumpkin Carve – Woodstown
This beloved event, held at the Salem County fairgrounds, features pumpkins carved by professional and amateur artists, along with a pumpkin light show, hayrides, a straw maze, crafts, and more. Proceeds benefit Meals on Wheels.
Smithsonian Museum Day Live – Various locations
More than 20 NJ museums are offering free admission with a Museum Day ticket today. Visit participating museums' websites to download your ticket—the sooner the better! Each ticket provides free admission for the ticket-holder plus ONE guest. Participating NJ museums include WheatonArts, Monmouth Museum, and Montclair Art Museum.
Princeton Children's Book Festival – Princeton
Meet your favorite children's book authors and illustrators at Princeton's annual festival celebrating a love of books. Kids can listen to authors speak, have books signed, and join in many fun activities throughout the day. FREE
Gather round the campfire after you take a harvest moon hayride at Alstede Farms.
Harvest Moon Hayrides and Nighttime Corn Maze at Alstede Farms – Chester
The popular nighttime fall fun series returns to Alstede Farms, running Fridays and Saturdays through October 28. Make your way through the corn maze and take a tractor-led hayride through the fields, then enjoy a campfire, live music, and apple cider under the stars. Don't forget your flashlight!
Sunday, September 24
Monster Truck Day at Oasis Family Farm – Robbinsville
Climb aboard the 12-foot-tall Webslinger monster truck and go for a thrilling ride around the farm, then stick around for games and other activities.
Harvest Home Festival – Holmdel
Travel back in time to the 1890s at the Harvest Home Festival, an old-fashioned country fair at Historic Longstreet Farm. The day's events include wagon rides, games, a corn-husking competition, pie-eating contests, live entertainment, and craft demonstrations.
Harvest Festival at Trailside Nature & Science Center – Mountainside
The 36th annual Harvest Festival celebrates early American life with music, children's crafts and games, a petting zoo, demonstrations and displays, and more.
Kids ages 10–12 from around the world will compete in the Danone Nations Cup World Final at Red Bull Arena.
Danone Nations Cup World Final – Harrison
Soccer fans won't want to miss this event at Red Bull Arena, featuring youth soccer teams from 33 countries. In addition to cheering on the teams, visit the Activity Village for family-friendly games and contests, live music, and more.
Top photo: Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails Opening Day. Photos courtesy of the events/venues.