Fun Fall Harvest Festivals for NJ Families
As much as I love summer, I find myself looking forward to fall's arrival more and more every year. The cooler weather, crunching of leaves underfoot and pumpkin-flavored everything are all highlights of the season for me. And let’s not forget Halloween! New Jersey has many wonderful fairs and festivals for your family to enjoy this autumn—grab the kids (and a jacket) and check out these fall events coming to a town near you.
Crystal Springs Oktoberfest (Vernon)
Sept 21-22 (Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 11am-6pm)
Don’t forget your appetite! German favorites such as bratwurst, jumbo pretzels and potato pancakes, along with plenty of German beers, will be served at Mountain Creek’s beloved festival. Traditional German music and dancing will take place on the main stage and there are plenty of activities for the whole family. Check out the pony rides, bounce house, carnival games, trampoline and more! Admission is $5 for one-day pass and $7.50 for two-day pass. Preferred parking is $20.
Harvest Festival (Mountainside)
Sept 29, 11am-5pm
Trailside Nature & Science Center in beautiful Watchung Reservation is home to this fall festival celebrating Early American Life. Activities for the whole family include storytelling, live entertainment, crafts and scarecrow building. Kids can enjoy pony rides, games and visiting the petting zoo. Admission is $4 per person, free for children 7 and under.
New Jersey Botanical Garden Harvest Fest (Ringwood)
Oct 5-6, 10am-5pm
Visit the Botanical Garden for a fun and relaxing day in beautiful surroundings. The Festival features hayrides, face painting, pumpkin painting, storytelling and yummy food. You can also join a Garden Tour, visit the autumn plant sale and peruse handmade items from local craft vendors. FREE Admission.
Whippany Railway Museum Pumpkin Festival (Whippany)
Oct 6, 12:30-5:30pm
Enjoy a 30-minute excursion along the Whippanong Trail on the “Pumpkinliner” caboose train. Before or after your trip, visit the Pumpkin Marketplace Crafts Fair to check out local wares, railroad memorabilia and of course plenty of pumpkins. Walk around the museum grounds to enjoy the seasonal decorations and meet Stormy the Scarecrow! Train tickets can be purchased in advance online and any remaining tickets will be sold on operating day. Fares are $14 for adults, $9 for children under 12 and free for infants on laps.
South Jersey Pumpkin Show (Woodstown)
Oct 11-13 (Fri 4-9pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm)
If you’re a big pumpkin fan, this event can’t be missed! Cheer on the competitors in the Little Miss & Mister Pumpkin Show Pageant, sample scrumptious treats at the Pumpkin Dessert Contest and visit the Friendly Boo Barn. Other activities include a decorated stroller/wagon parade, scarecrow contest, hay rides and fall crafts for kids. FREE Admission. Parking is $5 per car.
Hometown Harvest Fair (Hightstown)
Oct 12, 10am-4pm
Celebrate the 11th anniversary of this Hightstown festival featuring arts & crafts, delicious food and live entertainment all day long. A special Children’s Area offers pony rides, a petting zoo and bouncy houses. And don’t miss the Chili Cook Off, pedal boats, mechanical bulls and Ducky Derby race! FREE Admission.
Allentown Fall Festival (Allentown)
Oct 12-13, 10am-5pm
This annual festival takes place along Main Street in the charming village of Allentown. Highlights include local artisans, crafters and food vendors, as well as live music and dance performances. Don’t forget to visit their classic car show and bring the kiddies to check out the petting zoo. FREE Admission.
Pumpkin Festival (Cape May)
Oct 19, 10am-4:30pm
Head to historic Cold Spring Village for this wonderful family-friendly fall celebration. With food, games, hayrides and pumpkin painting, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy. The Halloween parade starts at noon—you won’t want to miss it! FREE Admission. Donations of canned goods are requested.
Chatsworth Cranberry Festival (Chatsworth)
Oct 19-20, 9am-4pm
Did you know New Jersey’s cranberry harvest is the third largest in the U.S.? Celebrate all things cranberry at this festival featuring local specialties, over 150 arts & crafts vendors, live music, antique cars and wolves from nearby Howling Woods Farm. Breakfast will also be served each morning from 6-11am at the Chatsworth Volunteer Firehouse. FREE Admission. $5 donation to park in the designated parking area.
Goblins in the Garden Family Festival (Camden)
Oct 26-27, 1-4pm
Calling all ghosts and goblins! Break out the costumes and join in the Halloween festivities at The Camden Children’s Garden. Hop aboard a Haunted Train Ride, get your fortune told and trick or treat along the Costume Parade route. Visit the Creepy concession stand for special Halloween treats. Admission is $6 per person, free for kids 2 & under.
Originally published September 10, 2012