Festivals and food are two of my favorite things, and nothing is better than seeing them come together. New Jersey reigns supreme when it comes to this combo, thanks to our cultural diversity and commitment to producing fresh, flavorful food. We love to celebrate our delectable dishes, and these upcoming festivals are the perfect events to attend if you’re looking to enjoy a day of food and fun.
1. "Truckerton" Food Truck Festival, Tuckerton Seaport
Head here for a day of food and fun featuring food trucks including JB Woodfired Pizza, Gyros to Go and House of Cupcakes. Many of the food trucks have created unique spicy dishes for this Cinco de Mayo-themed event. Don't miss the taco eating contest if you're up for a challenge. There will be a second food truck festival at Tuckerton in August. Admission is $8, or free to Seaport members.
2. Bring The Heat Annual Chili Cook-Off, Clinton
The chili is the highlight of this event, though there will also be live music, a 50/50 raffle and tricky tray. Entry into the contest is $25, and cash prizes are awarded to winners. Tasting tickets cost $15, or $12 in advance.
3. Allaire BBQ & Brew Fest, Farmingdale
This unique event features award-winning BBQ, a variety of food trucks and a beer garden in a historical setting. Explore Allaire Village while dining on delicious dishes and enjoying live music, craft demonstrations and 19th century games. General admission is $5. The festival will be held on April 30th from 11-5.
4. Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest, Red Bank
Enjoy cuisine from over a dozen of your favorite Red Bank restaurants including Gaetano's, The Molly Pitcher Inn, Temple Gourmet Chinese, Runa Peruvian Cuisine and Tony's Italian Sausage. Admission is $5 and helps to support the Red Bank RiverCenter and Red Bank Education Foundation. The event will be held from 12-7 pm on April 24th in the White Street Parking Lot. There will be live music throughout.
5. Spring Food Truck and Wine Festival, Milford
Held at the Alba Vineyard on April 23rd and 24th, admission is $10 for those over 21, and wine tastings are available for an additional $10. There will be live music throughout the event and a variety of food trucks to enjoy.
6. Feria De Sevilla, Woodbridge
This cultural event will transport you to Spain with Flamenco performances by Alborada Dance, a variety of workshops and live music. There will also be a Flamenco fashion show and and traditional Spanish cuisine and Sangria available for purchase. Admission is free and the festival will be held at Parker Press Park on May 15th from 2-5 pm.
7. New Jersey Seafood Festival, Belmar
This flavorful celebration will be held at Silver Lake Park on May 14th and 15th, beginning at 11 am and ending at 8 pm on Saturday/6 pm on Sunday. The selection of seafood is spectacular and admission to the event is free.
8. Hoboken Irish Festival, Hoboken
Head to Sinatra Park on May 21st between noon and 6 pm for a fun festival featuring traditional Irish dishes, live music, bagpipes, step dances, carnival rides and so much more. Check out (or enter!) the Irish Soda Bread Competition and enjoy sheep shearing and wool spinning demonstrations.
9. Blues & BBQ Festival, Cape May Courthouse
Held at Natali Vineyards, this May 29th event will feature live blues performances, wine tastings and local food vendors. Admission is free and the celebration is pet friendly.
10. Laurita Winery's BaconFest, New Egypt
2016 is the first year this event will be held, and it looks pretty epic to me. The festival offers a variety of events over two days including fireworks, camel rides, a mechanical pig, country wine dancing, basket weaving demonstrations, craft vendors, wine tastings and a petting zoo. Did I mention there will be bacon? Over a dozen food trucks will feature specialty bacon-themed items for your palate's pleasure. Admission is $8 and includes a one-of-a-kind wine glass.
11. Von Thun Farm's Strawberry Festival, Monmouth Junction
This event is centered around the opportunity to pick your own strawberries, but also offers strawberry foods, jams, jellies, hayrides and more. Held on June 4th and 5th, there are three tiers of admission. Prices start at $5 and include a $5 "pick your own" credit.
12. Alstede Farm's Strawberry Harvest Festival, Chester
This event will be held weekends from June 4th-June 19th. You can enjoy a hayride and pick your own strawberries, but you absolutely have to try all the strawberry-flavored sweets. There will be strawberry ice cream, shortcakes, shakes, slushies, sundaes, pie, fudge and several other strawberry-themed treats to enjoy.
13. JerseyFest Food Truck Mash-up, East Rutherford
This event pits New Jersey and Philadelphia food trucks against each other in an event where there is only one winner... You! Held on June 4th from 5-11 pm at the Meadowlands Racetrack, you'll be able to sample fare from nearly two dozen food trucks. The selection includes Luke's Lobster, The French Quarter, Try Vegan and Waffle De Lys. You'll also be able to enjoy live music and horse racing. General admission is $5, but I'd definitely invest in an early admission ticket for $30 which grants you VIP access to the event beginning at 3:30. You'll also get a $5 food credit and exclusive entry to the outdoor beer garden.
14. Big Greek Festival, Randolph
Head to the St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church on June 10th-12th for a festival celebrating Greek culture. There will be a wide variety of events including live entertainment along with traditional Greek dishes and desserts.
15. NJ BaconFest, Tuckerton Seaport
The second BaconFest on my list, this event is sure to be a blast. Enjoy a variety of food trucks, many focused on bacon, along with pig races, a bacon eating contest, live music and craft beer. Admission is $8, but you can snag VIP admission for $100. It includes VIP parking and express entry, cooking demos, free refreshments in the VIP tent, 2 free craft beers, Seaport membership, a mixology class, cookbook, mug, and much more.
16. New Jersey State BBQ Championship, Wildwood
This year's event will be held in conjunction with the Angelsea Blues Festival on July 8th-10th. Admission is free, teams from around the country will compete, and there will be live cooking demonstrations.
17. The 3rd Annual Pork Roll Festival, Trenton
Of course New Jersey would have a Pork Roll Festival. Held on May 28th at Mill Hill Park, the event will feature plenty of pork roll along with food trucks and other food vendors. You can also enjoy live music, the Pork Roll Queen Pageant, and a recipe contest. Tickets are $5.
18. Trenton Pork Roll Festival, Trenton
This competing festival is held on the same day, in the same town. Head to Trenton Social for live music and pork roll galore. General admission is $5, the Pork Roll-Out Bike Tour is $15 and includes event admission, and VIP tickets are $35 and include a private breakfast and lunch buffet along with other perks.
Which of these events are you most excited to attend? What other New Jersey food-related festivals would you add to this list? If you enjoyed this list, look out for another featuring late summer and early fall festivals.