Best Memorial Day celebrations in NJ 2016
Note: Several Memorial Day events have been canceled or rescheduled due to expected heavy rains. See here for an updated list.
Memorial Day weekend in New Jersey really does offer something for everyone. Events range from Somerset County's storied bike race, to a foodie haven in Monmouth and some more traditional parades and festivals marking the holiday.
Tour of Somerville bike race (Monday, May 30)
The oldest major bike race in the country is a free event. This Memorial Day Classic has special significance as its first two winners died while serving with the Armed Forces overseas. As the website for the Tour of Somerville explains, it's "a bike race, festival, carnival and a giant family reunion rolled into one, honoring American heroes on Memorial Day." Proceeds from the event benefit the non-profit, Jack’s Kids.
Monday kick off with a Main Street parade at 9 a.m. and other festivities, before the race starts at 10:45 a.m.
Wildwood Kite Festival (Friday-Monday, May 27-30)
The 31st Annual Wildwoods International Kite Festival is the largest kite festival in North America. Kite makers from around the world will be flying their creations.
The weekend starts on Friday, including an illuminated beachfront kite fly at Rio Grande Ave. Saturday and Sunday will see daily competitive flights, kite exhibits and workshops. Monday wraps with the "World Indoor Kite Competition."
Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival at Monmouth Park (Saturday-Monday, May 28-30)
What's become a Memorial Day weekend tradition for Jersey foodies is bigger than ever — with 50 trucks slated to take part. The Jersey Shore Food truck festival at Monmouth Park runs Saturday through Monday.
The extensive offerings include cheese steaks, lobster rolls, empanadas, cupcakes, tacos, mac and cheese, Belgian waffle sundaes and lots more. At Monmouth Park, general parking is $5 and general admission is $5.
Freehold Memorial Day Parade (Monday, May 30)
Among Monmouth County's traditional celebrations, the 142nd Freehold Memorial Day Parade is set for Monday. It's a big one with custom designed floats, lots of military units, veterans groups, bands, fire departments, EMS squads and youth groups. The parade will step off at Brinkerhoff Avenue at 10 a.m.
May Fair in Collingswood (Saturday, May 28)
Art, music and activities for all ages are in-store at Collingswood's 37th Annual May Fair. More than 200 artists and vendors will span more than a mile of the business district, along Haddon Avenue on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A “KidZone” will include pony rides, carnival games, rides and child-friendly crafters. There will be stages of live music, plus a classic car show and Harley-Davidson display. Collingswood Borough Hall is at the center of the action at 678 Haddon Avenue.
3rd annual Pork Roll Festival in Trenton (Saturday, May 28)
Music and celebration of one of Jersey's tastiest stereotypes unfolds Saturday in Trenton's Mill Hill Park. This year's Pork Roll fest includes contests for pork roll recipes a Pork Roll Queen pageant, live music, a coloring contest for kids and a mascot naming event.
Bradley Beach Memorial Day festival (Saturday-Monday, May 28-30)
Bradley Beach kicks off summer with a weekend of live music and craft vendors at the beach. The community's annual Memorial Day parade also is slated for Saturday at 10 a.m.
Blues, Wine & BBQ in Long Valley (Saturday & Sunday, May 28-29)
What's billed as New Jersey’s "biggest wine and barbecue holiday extravaganza" returns to Schooley's Mountain County Park in Long Valley, on Saturday and Sunday. It runs noon to 5 p.m. each day. More than 250 award winning New Jersey wines from over 20 wineries are slated for sampling, plus food and classic live blues.
Tickets are priced at $25 in advance, $30 on-site.
Hillsborough Memorial Day Parade (Saturday, May 28)
Hillsborough is kicking off the season with its traditional parade, ending at the township municipal complex. Local veterans, fire companies, police, scout troops, youth sports teams, and a variety of other community organizations will march in this year's parade. They will step off from the corner of New Amwell and Auten Road at 10:30am. The Garden of Honor ceremony will be held upon completion of the parade.
Edison Memorial Day parade Sunday (May 29th)
More than 60 youth and community groups are slated to march in Edison township's 54th annual parade. It steps off at noon along Plainfield Avenue, starting from Division and ending at Post 435 on Oakland Avenue for "refreshments."
Union Memorial Day parade (Monday, May 30)
It's a full slate for the Union Memorial Day parade on Monday — from floats and cars, to scouts, Civil War re-eneactors and Clydesdale horses. The mile-long route in Union Township also will be covered by military units and vehicles, motorcycles the Denville String Band and other civic and youth groups. The parade steps off at 10.a.m.
NJ Renaissance Faire in Columbus (Saturday and Sunday, May 28-29)
NJ Renaissance Faire kicks off with Memorial Day weekend and also runs the first two weekends in June. The interactive experience unfolds at Liberty Lake in Burlington County. It runs rain or shine on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Never been to a "Ren Faire"? The NJ folks have you covered on what to expect.
Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee. A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.