Balloons, blueberries and more: the summer festivals of New Jersey

It’s summer—time to take your entertainment outdoors! New Jersey offers a blazing-hot lineup of outdoor festivals and live performances throughout the season. Whether you prefer plays by the Bard, a nostalgic trip to your youth (via a classic rocker) or an open-air feast, you’ll dig New Jersey’s event-filled calendar.

New Jersey celebrates everything from sharks and food trucks to blueberries and balloons during the summer festival season. In June, enjoy “jawsome” fun at Sharkfest in the Atlantic Highlands, admire classic cars and airplanes at the Greenwood Lake Air Show in West Milford and learn how to open a clam at the Baymen’s Seafood & Music Festival at Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum

Summer also brings the blues to the Garden State—and we mean the delicious, antioxidant-rich blueberry, of course! Celebrate New Jersey’s official state fruit at the annual Whitesbog Blueberry Festival in Browns Mills (birthplace of the Highbush Blueberry) and Chester’s Blueberry Festival at Alstede Farms. Or make merry as you dig into the fruits of the sea at the annual Clam Fest in Highlands and the Craft Beer, Music and Crab Festival in Cape May. 

The XPoNential Music Festival in Camden each July brings in some of the very best music has to offer. Whether you're checking out your favorite band or discovering newest favorite, XPoNential is known for the high quality of their lineup. 

Ready for more? (A lot more.) Sip award-winning wines at Lakewood’s Jersey Shore Wine Festival or sample a bevy of beers on the Battleship New Jersey at Garden State Craft Brewers Guild Beer Festival. If you’re up for a marathon of fun, join in Margate’s Beachstock, the planet’s biggest beach party, for 13 hours of non-stop summer celebrating. 

Whatever your summer plans, don’t miss two of the state’s top summer festivals. The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, the largest hot air balloon and music festival in North America, takes flight every July at Solberg Airport with over 100 balloons from around the world. The New Jersey State Fair celebrates its diamond jubilee in the hear of summer at the Sussex County Fairgrounds. It’s the best place to gobble up yummy fair food and check out the Turkey Calling Contest, too!

Like your music and theater al fresco? For amphitheater-style venues and big-name concerts, check out the calendars at PNC Bank Arts Center and BB&T Pavilion and catch the biggest artists in music today. Like a more intimate venue? Somerville's downtown lights up with free live music every Saturday night mid-July to mid-August at their Somerville Summer Stage events. For more refined pleasures, delight in the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s production of the timeless plays to ever grace the stage. And for a treat in the great outdoors check out what's playing at the Washington Crossing Open Air Theatre