September 3: Say “Hello!” to the Hello Kitty Café truck as it rolls into the Garden State Plaza in Paramus! The truck serves up a delicious array of people-friendly Hello Kitty treats, including cookies, macaroons, and cakes to fans of all ages. Other fun goodies like Hello Kitty mugs, t-shirts, and even Kitty’s iconic bow headband will be available for purchase. The Hello Kitty Café truck will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Since its debut at Hello Kitty Con in 2014, the Hello Kitty Café truck has been making appearances at festivals and events across the U.S. Follow the Hello Kitty Café truck on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to find out where it will be going next! Westfield Garden State Plaza, 1 Garden State Plaza Boulevard, Paramus.
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 6: For students everywhere, “back to school” means classes, homework, books, and… free tacos?! From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tacoria is offering a free taco to frugal, hungry patrons who have followed Tacoria on Instagram and checked in to Tacoria on Facebook. One taco per customer. Tacoria, 56 Easton Avenue, New Brunswick.
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: The Human Needs Food Pantry of Montclair is accepting donations from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Help support the local community by donating unexpired, non-perishable food, diapers and baby wipes, socks and underwear, pet food, or personal-care items. Monetary donations are also accepted. The Human Needs Food Pantry serves community members in need of assistance, including the elderly and the disabled, by providing them with nutritious food and personal care items. Human Needs Food Pantry, 9 Label Street, Montclair.
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 1: Start the season off right at Unionville Vineyard’s Fall Harvest Festival. From 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. enjoy wine, food, and music in a sprawling, 89-acre vineyard setting as the cool fall air rolls in. Jersey Bites founder and author of The Jersey Shore Cookbook, Deborah Smith, will be in attendance for a panel discussion and book signing, along with Jeff Cioletti, author of The Year of Drinking Adventurously. Other attractions include winery tours and vineyard walks, live magic performances, hayrides, pumpkin painting, crafts, and some furry friends from Highland Airs Alpaca Farms. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the gate. Advance tickets can be purchased here until September 29. Tickets for guests under 21 and designated drivers are $10. No pets or outside alcohol is permitted at this event. Coolers, lawn chairs, and blankets are welcome. Unionville Vineyards, 9 Rocktown Road, Ringoes.
October 2: Take part in the first-ever New Jersey VegFest, a which will bring together a varied roster of insightful speakers, more than 60 vegan food and product vendors, live music, and more. The speaker lineup features a highly anticipated, already sold-out keynote from Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live and The End of Heart Disease; Adam Sobel, chef, author of Street Vegan, proprietor of The Cinnamon Snail food truck, and restaurateur; and many more. Vendors in attendance include Fresh Press Juice Co., Good Karma Café, and Gigi’s Doughnuts. A list of more vendors can be found here. There will also be small breakout panel sessions for activists, educators, and others to connect with attendees with similar interests. The Cinnamon Snail food truck will be parked outside the event and available to the general public. Tickets can be purchased for $25 here. The festival takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Hyatt Regency Morristown, 3 Speedwell Avenue, Morristown.
October 7 to 9: The annual South Jersey Pumpkin Show marks its 13th year for a celebration of 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. 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.
October 15: For beer fans everywhere, the month of October means it’s time again for Oktoberfest celebrations. The Harborside Craft Brew Fest in Jersey City brings the German tradition Garden State-side, featuring more than 15 New Jersey craft breweries, including Jersey City’s own Departed Soles and Hoboken’s 902 Brewing. With over 150 craft beers to try, guests are bound to discover their new favorite brew as they meet other beer aficionados and brewery representatives. Guests will also enjoy live music, beautiful views of the New York City skyline, and savor-worthy food from The Cow and The Curd, Mac Truck, Urban Lobster Shack, and more. The event takes place during two four-hour sessions: 12 to 4 p.m. and 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets for this event are $60 can be purchased here (ticket prices will increase in $5 increments two weeks and then one week prior to the event). Price of admission includes unlimited craft beer tastings and a souvenir tasting glass. Harborside Atrium and Waterfront Esplanade, 34 Exchange Place, Jersey City.