Thursdays, through August 25: Celebrate the 200th birthday of historical Congress Hall, America’s oldest seaside resort, at the weekly Bicentennial Birthday Dinner. Guests are treated to a family style feast featuring modern takes on classic dishes while taking a step back in time to learn about the history of Congress Hall. The festivities take place every Thursday at 6 p.m. from July 7 to August 25 in the resort’s Ballroom. 200 Congress Place, Cape May.
August 20 and 21: Stop by Bellview Winery for its biggest festival of the year: the annual Seafood Festival. Enjoy fresh seafood from the raw bar and seafood vendors, and pair it with refreshing sangria or a glass of wine. Live music, craft vendors, and wine tastings complete this fun summer festival. Advance tickets are $10 and can be purchased from July 17 to August 14, or at the event for $15. For more information, click here. Bellview Winery, 150 Atlantic Street, Landisville.
August 25: Savor a gourmet, 4-course meal prepared with locally sourced ingredients, paired with wine from the private reserve of Laurita Winery, for an al fresco Farm-to-Table Sunset Dinner. Along with the meal, guests will be treated to a breathtaking view of the sun setting to the west over the vineyard, amidst elegant countryside surroundings. The menu features ingredients from a variety of local establishments, including Cherry Grove Farm, Fulper Family Farmstead, Griggstown Farm Market, and more. The dinner will begin at 7 p.m. (Sunset will take place at approximately 7:38 p.m.) Reservations required. Call Branches Catering for reservations. Laurita Winery, 85 Archertown Road, New Egypt.
August 25: Quaker Steak & Lube marks its second anniversary as it donates 10% of its sales for the day directly to the Joseph H. Firth Youth Center, a local non-profit organization. Quaker Steak & Lube, 1304 Route 22, Phillipsburg.
August 28: Enjoy an elegant meal that celebrates the bounty of farms throughout New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania in a breathtaking al fresco setting at Foodshed Alliance’s Farm-to-Fork Celebration. The event, held at Alba Vineyard in Milford, brings together the culinary expertise of nine of New Jersey’s most reputable chefs to delicious create cocktail hour hors d’ouvres offerings, followed by a seven-course dinner. Each course is paired with wines hand selected by expert winemakers from Alba Vineyard. Guests are also treated to a VIP tour of the vineyard and music by George Baier. The event takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. Cost is $150 per person. Purchase tickets here. Seating is limited. Tickets are non-refundable but transferrable. Alba Vineyard & Winery, 269 Route 627, Village of Finnesville, Milford.
September 1: From 10 a.m.to noon, join the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in Neptune for Hunger Action Day, an open house-meets-snack-pack-packing event to help after-school food programs prep for the start of the new school year. Food insecurity affects 1 out of every 10 people, including 1 out of 5 children, and this event is designed to raise awareness and to offer a tangible way to help. The event, will feature volunteer shifts and a Stuff Our Silo (S.O.S.) food drive. Families are encouraged to bring a bag of nonperishable food. Kids and families will enjoy crafts, face painting, a photo booth, food trucks, garden activities and more. The event also serves as the launch of STUDENTS CHANGE HUNGER, a statewide, school-based program that allows schools of all sizes and grade levels to compete to collect food, funds and raise awareness of hunger issues. Event takes place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. 3300 Route 66, Neptune, 732-918-2600.
September 3: It’s no surprise Jersey tomatoes earned their very own celebration at the West Cape May Tomato Festival. Tomato pies, tomato empanadas, and more will be available. Proceeds benefit the West Cape May Shade Tree Commission. The festival takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rain date scheduled for September 4. Wilbraham Park, Perry Street, West Cape May.
September 3 and 4: Make the most of Labor Day weekend this year at the Wine & Music Experience, hosted by the Garden State Wine Growers Association. This event, held at the beautiful and spacious Horse Park of New Jersey, features offerings from 17 GSWGA wineries, along with live music all day. The event runs from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, with a rain date of September 5. Advance discounted tickets are $20 through August 14 and can be purchased here. After August 14, advance tickets will cost $25 through August 28, and $30 the week of the event and on site. VIP experience also available with purchase of a new GSWGA membership card. For more details about GSWGA membership, click here. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Standardbred Retirement Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the care, rehabilitation, and secure lifetime adoption of non-competitive racehorses. The Horse Park of New Jersey at Stone Tavern, 626 Route 524, Allentown.
September 7: The Cape May County Library invites guests to join in a discussion about the agricultural offerings of the Garden State at Farm Fresh: The Agriculture of Cape May County, hosted by Joe Alvarez. A board member of the New Jersey Beekeepers Association and founder of the Cape May County Beach Plum Association, Alvarez, who has a bachelor of science in biology and environmental science, has a bounty of insight to offer. This program is a part of the “One Book, One Cape May” community initiative, which encourages members of the community to read a particular book and engage with the text’s themes at events throughout the county library system. The selection for the second annual One Book, One Cape May initiative is Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank. For more information about this event, click here. Cape May County Library, 30 Mechanic Street, Cape May.
September 10: Tap into the fun at the second annual Skylands Stadium Beer Fest. Sample a variety of craft beer, and enjoy great food, music, games, contests, and prizes. This event is open to all ages, however guests must be 21 or over with valid identification to participate in the beer tasting. Details are subject to change, check here for updates. Skylands Stadium, 94 Championship Place, Augusta.
September 10 and 11: The annual Atlantic City Seafood Festival returns for its 5th year, bringing together fun, food, and entertainment for a two-day, action-packed extravaganza. The event will host over 50 restaurants and culinary personalities alike and is sure to provide festivalgoers with a taste of the great costal cuisine Atlantic City has to offer – attendees are encouraged to come hungry! Programming for the festival includes participating local restaurants offering reduced-price menus, cooking demos, wine seminars and tastings, activities for children, a crab eating competition hosted by Phillips Seafood, a chowder cook-off benefitting the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, and so much more. Admission is $5 with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Gilda’s Club South Jersey. Admission for guests under 12 is free and parking is free. The festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, 11 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Bader Field, 600 Albany Avenue, Atlantic City.
September 17: The Point Pleasant Chamber of Commerce hosts the 38th Annual Festival of the Sea, highlighting the bounty of the sea and more in dishes prepared by local restaurants. For those more interested in the sweeter side of things, there will be plenty of dessert offerings as well. Live musical entertainment will take place all afternoon, along with arts and crafts, pony rides, kiddie games, and more. The festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Arnold and Bay Avenues, Point Pleasant Beach. (Rain date scheduled for September 18.)
September 17 and 18: Get a taste of authentically exotic Middle East cuisine at the Middle Eastern Festival, hosted by Saint Ann Melkite Catholic Church in Woodland Park. Festival fare includes grape leaves, falafel, kabobs, gyros, hummus, and more. Dessert offerings will be served as well, and if you’re in a hurry, takeout is available. Enjoy live entertainment nightly, along with activities for children, shopping, raffles, church tours, and a hookah bar. Best of all, admission and parking is free! The festival runs from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Saint Ann Melkite Catholic Church, 802 Rifle Camp Road, Woodland Park.
September 17 and October 8: Rock your taste buds at Rock the BBQ Festival 2016! The festivities take place at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, on September 17 and at MetLife Stadium on October 8. Rock the BBQ Festival features a variety of top Northeast BBQ pitmasters, including Kimchi Smoke, Jerzey Eatz, and Texas Smoke Barbeque, along with many other “rock’n eats,” “sweet encores,” and a huge selection of beer, wine, and specialty cocktails to wash it all down. There are also tons of games and activities for kids, live music all day, and even a pyrotechnics show! Tickets are $20 and kids 10 and under get in for free. Purchase tickets here. Lincoln Financial Field parking is $18. MetLife Stadium parking is free. Have any questions? Click here. Lincoln Financial Field, 1020 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, PA. MetLife Stadium, 1 MetLife Stadium Drive, East Rutherford.
September 23 to 25: The Saint Stephen Orthodox Church Festival brings exotic cuisine close to home, along with church tours, mega raffles, kid-friendly activities, a vintage car show, and more. Attendees can enjoy a variety of delicacies from the Middle East, Greece, and Slovenia, including kibbie, tabbouleh, gyros, baklava, grapes leaves, kefta, and more. The festival takes place rain or shine from 4 to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free! Saint Stephen Orthodox Church, 609 Lane Avenue, South Plainfield.
September 25: There’s Guinness and oysters galore at the 7th Annual Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival! This street festival, presented by the Asbury Park Press, will also offer a variety of specialty food prepared by chefs from 25 of Red Bank’s favorite restaurants. Live music will take place throughout the day on two stages for all to enjoy. The festival runs from 12 to 7 p.m. Admission is $5 for guests 10 and older. Rain date scheduled for October 2. No pets allowed. White Street Parking Lot, Red Bank.
September 26: The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties hosts its 25th Annual Culinary Classic, which has been bringing together the finest restaurants, caterers, wineries, and breweries since 1991. This delectable experience also helps to raise funds to provide emergency food and services to over 131,000 people in the local area. The event takes place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. VIP tickets are available for $125, which offers seating in the VIP room as well as tableside service. General admission tickets can be purchased for $75. Seating is limited. Click here to purchase tickets. Doolan’s Shore Club, 700 State Highway 71, Spring Lake.
September 29: The Arc of Essex County’s Uncorked & Uncapped: Wine, Beer, and Food brings together craft beer, wine, and spirit tastings and samples from a variety of restaurants for a fun evening of food and drink. The event takes place at Westminster Hotel from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. with 40 different vendors in attendance. Activities include a 50/50 raffle and silent auction. All proceeds benefit The Arc of Essex County. Cost is $100 per person. Purchase tickets here. Westminster Hotel, 550 W. Mount Pleasant Avenue, Livingston.
October 7 to 9: The annual South Jersey Pumpkin Show celebrates its 13th year by bringing together all things pumpkin. Pumpkin-themed festivities include the Pumpkin Fun Food Contest and the NJ Big Pumpkin Weigh-Off, as well as a bounty of pumpkin pies, of course. There’s also amusement rides, live music, a Halloween Costume Contest, hay rides (of the spooky variety), a haunted barn, wine sampling, farmers market, and more. A perfect way to welcome in the fall season! The festival runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Parking is $5 and good for all three days of the festival. $1 discount on parking for donation of canned pet food. Salem County Fairgrounds, 735 Harding Highway, Woodstown.
October 8: Think you’re not a fan of lima beans? You might change your mind after visiting the West Cape May Lima Bean Festival. The oft-overlooked legume takes center stage in soups, tacos, salads, and more. Other attractions include vendors, antique shopping, live entertainment, and crafts. The festival takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rain date scheduled for October 9. Wilbraham Park, Perry Street, West Cape May.
October 8: Cricket Hill Brewery hosts the Central Jersey Beer Festival, bringing together a plethora of breweries for a day of beer tasting in the crisp fall air. Featured breweries include Brooklyn Brewery, Forgotten Boardwalk, Jughandle Brewing Company, Triumph Brewing Company, Victory Brewing Company, and many more. For a full list of breweries and vendors, click here. Live musical performances from Shaun Ruymen, Pat Llewellyn and the Parade, and Moot Davis will take place throughout the day. The festival runs from 12 to 6 p.m. with four hours designated for beer tasting. The festival will take place rain or shine. Tickets are limited and can be purchased here. Proof of ID required for entry and no one under the age of 21 is permitted. Mercer County Park, 1638 Old Trenton Road, Trenton.
October 8 and 9: The Vintage North Jersey Wine & Food Festival marries fine wine, delicious food, and live music for a weekend to remember. The festival, hosted by Four Sisters Winery, features offerings from ten local wineries, including Ventimiglia Vineyard, Beneduce Vineyards, Old York Cellars, Hopewell Valley Vineyards, and more. Food will be served up from a variety of food trucks, specialty food vendors, and a farmer’s market. The festival takes place from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. One-day tickets for the event are $25 at the gate, $15 in advance. Two-day tickets are $45 at the gate, $30 in advance. Advance tickets will be sold through August 10 and can be purchased here. Non-drinker tickets are $10. Four Sisters Winery, 783 County Route 519, Belvidere.