After over a year of cancellations and modifications, this upcoming season may be the first to truly feel normal again. With an increasing percentage of vaccinated individuals, public gatherings are making their slow return as welcome additions to warm-weather activities. As you make your reentry into the 2021 social sphere, consider local NJ festivals as a worthy way to celebrate. Covering interests from aircrafts to craft beer, these joyous (and covid-safe) events remind us of what summer is all about. Relaxation. Enjoying nature. Reconnecting with old hobbies. And most importantly, spending time with friends. However you want to experience spring and summer 2021 in NJ, these five upcoming festivals are something to get excited about.
1. Food Truck and Craft Beer Fest – Augusta, NJ
Located at Sussex County’s Skylands Stadium field, this New Jersey festival’s goal is simple: to bring people together over some quality cuisine and brews. The event will house more than 25 food trucks, with local vendors such as The Wicked Waffle Stick and Sip N’ Swirl ice cream, along with over 100 beer options. While you snack away, lawn games, live music, shopping, and televised sports will provide entertainment for patrons of all ages. A single-day celebration, Food Truck and Craft Beer Fest will take place on May 15 from 12 p.m.-7 p.m.
2. Wildwood International Kite Festival – Wildwood, NJ
As it turns out, North America’s largest kite festival takes place right in our own backyard. Featuring kite makers from all around the world, this event provides numerous ways to show off their incredible aerial beauty. The Wildwood International Kite Festival begins with the “Unlocking of the Beach” ceremony, in which the release of kites coincides with the opening of the Wildwood beach season. Following this are kite competitions, exhibits, auctions, and even an enchanting illuminated night fly event. With the option to choose your own level of participation, you can enter full force or simply admire the colorful view from the boardwalk or beach.
3. Lighthouse International Film Festival – Long Beach Island, NJ
This beach-oriented New Jersey festival honors independent filmmakers and their works. To do this, LIFF shows some of the top films from festivals around the world–think features, narrative shorts, documentaries, surf films, and more. In addition to screenings, there will be panels featuring critics and producers, networking parties, surfing events, and of course, food. This year, the fest has expanded ways to partake, hosting events in seaside theaters, drive-in locations, or streamed virtually. With the goal to encourage diverse forms of storytelling and enlighten people on current issues, this event is as educational as it is enjoyable.
4. New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning – Readington, NJ
Currently, in its 38th year, New Jersey’s Lottery Festival of Ballooning is definitely one of the most magical events in the state. From July 23-25 at Solberg Airport, awe-inspiring sport and specialty balloons will be released into the sky twice a day. While you can take this opportunity to ride in one yourself, you can also stay grounded to observe the highly-Instagrammable scene. In addition to this, a wide range of activities are available to enhance your viewing experience. Such examples include a 5k race, hundreds of vendors, fireworks, and live performances from the Barenaked Ladies and Styx.
5. Barefoot Country Music Fest – Wildwood, NJ
Country music and summer just seem to go hand in hand. This 2021 New Jersey festival, debuting August 19-22, aims to affirm this belief once and for all. Barefoot Country Music Fest’s lineup includes an impressive list of over 30 country music stars, including but not limited to Carrie Underwood, Zac Brown Band, Dan and Shay, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Furthermore, artists are set to perform across multiple stages in their 27-acre venue, conveniently set between the picturesque Morey’s and Seaport Piers. With such a backdrop, it is almost impossible to not soak up the sun, waves, sounds, and feel all of your worries fade away.
Which of these spring and summer NJ festivals will you be attending in 2021? Let us know in the comments below.
Main image by @carlosaranda