September 16 to October 16: On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, experience a Wine Lovers Sunset Cruise aboard the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. Guests will enjoy a five-course meal, live music, and the chance to purchase featured wines. This event is $65 per person. Reservations can be made at 800-643-3779.
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: The Monmouth Park Racetrack will host Food Trucktoberfest. Visit your favorite food trucks for everything from BBQ and empanadas to cupcakes and fried Oreos. There will also be an Oktoberfest beer selection in the German beer garden. General parking is $5 and General Admission is $5. This event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and the first race is at 12:30 p.m.
September 17 and 18: One of Belmar’s most popular events is back. The Feast of San Gennaro is an Italian festival which will feature several food vendors, a beer and wine tent, live entertainment, contests and kids activities. The festival will run 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday with a Cannoli Eating Contest at 1 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday with the Mayor’s Pasta Eating Contest at 1 p.m. Admission to this street festival is free.
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.
Tuesdays through Sundays, through December 31: Explore the 100-year history of one of New Jersey’s most iconic traditions at the Morris Museum’s newest exhibit, “Icons of American Culture: The History of New Jersey Diners.” Curated by Jody Marcus, the exhibit retells the story of how the classic, neon-lit, stainless steel diners of the past century captured the hearts of hungry diners everywhere through carefully curated factoid panels, photographs, paintings, and historical artifacts. Much of the information in the exhibit comes from the 2013 book The History of Diners in New Jersey, written by author and Jersey Bites contributor Michael C. Gabriele. (And check out his recent article about the exhibit here!) The exhibit runs through December 31. The museum is closed on Mondays and is open on Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information about hours and admission, click here. The Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown.
September 21: Join B2 Bistro & Bar and Local 130 for the Next Generation Species Dinner, which highlights and celebrates locally caught and lesser-known species, caught off boats in Point Pleasant. The Children’s Specialized Hospital will receive 20% of the proceeds from this 7-course benefit, which also features wine pairings. The featured fish will be revealed to guests (and the Chef!) on the day of the event! The dinner is at 6:30 p.m. Reservations required. $100/ticket. 141 Shrewsbury Avenue, Red Bank, 732-268-8555.
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 24: Back by popular demand, Skylands Stadium hosts the Fall Food Truck Frenzy. This year’s event will offer guests even more delicious food options than before, along with live music from Under A Ton, games, giveaways, beer, wine, and much more. The event runs from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $5. Early admission tickets can be purchased for $15, granting entrance an hour early at 11 a.m. Children 10 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased at the gate or online here. Parking is free. Lawn chairs and blankets are permitted. Pets are not permitted with the exception of service animals. Skylands Stadium, 94 Championship Place, Augusta.
September 25: Find 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 most-loved 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 25: Enjoy the 8th annual Taste of Westwood at the Westwood Free Public Library, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The fundraiser, which benefits the Friends of the Library, the Westwood Free Public Library, and its adult and children community programs, is a tantalizing food-and-wine-tasting celebration made possible by the generosity of the community’s finest restaurants and local businesses. Admission allows guests to enjoy highlights from signature dishes of each participating establishment, as well as a sampling of top-rated wines and beers from around the region, paired specifically to complement these special selections. 49 Park Avenue, Westwood.
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 table-side 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 the 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.
September 30: Wine time is upon us, and The Bernard’s Inn hosts the Fall World Wine Tasting, featuring over 100 wines from around the globe. The event takes place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 with a $20 wine credit. Reservations can be made at 908-766-0002. The Bernard’s Inn, 27 Mine Brook Road, in Bernardsville.
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 1: Get right into the groove of Oktoberfest at Ales ’N Tails Oktoberfest, held at and hosted by the Turtle Back Zoo. From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Enjoy traditional music along with dozens of brews made locally and globally. This event benefits the Essex County Parks Foundation. Tickets are $60 for general admission and $15 for designated drivers. Tickets can be purchased here.
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 6: 2nd Annual Whiskey Festival of New Jersey 75+ Different Whiskies to Sample–plus, craft cocktails, food and live music. 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM Pig & Prince Restaurant – 1 Lackawanna Plaza, Montclair.
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.
November 14: The Algonquin teams up with the Garden State Wine Growers Association and Whole Foods Market Wall to present Forks, Corks, and Hops: a wine and cheese pairing event. Steve Schirripa, aka Bobby Bacala on The Sopranos, is scheduled to host a Meet & Eat session. Tickets purchased before November 1 cost $75 per person for tasting and $95 for tasting along with wine and cheese pairing. Tickets bought after November 1 cost $85 per person for tasting alone, and $100 for tasting and wine and cheese pairing. Tickets can be purchased here. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. The Mill, 101 Old Mill Rd, Spring Lake Heights.