🍺 May is a great time of year to check out festivals in New Jersey

💐 This month features wine, beer, dogs, flowers, and even kites

🐶 Here are a dozen cool and unique festivals in the state this May

Spring is in full gear in New Jersey. There are so many wonderful and exciting things to do outside, especially weekend festivals and events. Whether you’re a foodie, a wine enthusiast, a flower buff, or a music lover, there’s lots to check out in the Garden State.

Here are 12 cool things to do in May in New Jersey.

NJ Wine and Food Festival, Crystal Springs Resort
NJ Wine and Food Festival, Crystal Springs Resort

New Jersey Wine and Food Festival

Friday, May 3 – Sunday, May 5

Crystal Springs Resort, 1 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg

Tickets: Various

Guests are invited to meet and mingle with the world’s finest chefs and winemakers, and sample food and wine.

The event begins with a champagne reception on Friday at 7pm. Enjoy champagne and hors d’oeuvres and toast the opening night of this year’s festival. Then enjoy Sunset Cabaret at 8pm.

Recent stars from Top Chef are collaborating with Restaurant Latour to serve a 5-course dinner on Friday, May 3, paired with wines from some of the best winemakers. Guests may add on the champagne reception for a separate price.

The rest of the weekend consists of events including Trailblazing Culinary Women, Whiskey, Honey and Saving the Bees, A Taste of Provence with Peyrassol Roses, Marketplace Lunch, Return to the Wild, The World of Botanicals with Hendrick’s Gin, Winemaking and Regenerative Farming with Eric Jensen, Rum and Chocolate, 90+ Wines, Under the Tuscan Sky, and so much more.


8th Annual Bridgewater Beerfest

Saturday, May 4

Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center, 775 Talamini Road, Bridgewater

Time: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Tickets: $54

Taste over 40 beers from breweries throughout the state and beyond. Plus, there will be tequila and bourbon tastings, live music, food trucks, door prizes, beer pong tournaments, and more. All proceeds raised will benefit special needs.

Photo Credit: Jen Ursillo and Canva
Photo Credit: Jen Ursillo and Canva

Jeeps and Cinco de Mayo Festival

Saturday, May 4 – Sunday, May 5

Laurita Winery, 85 Archertown Road, New Egypt

Time: Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Tickets: $13 in advance and $15 at the door

Hang outside at Laurita Winery with friends and family while pairing wines with a variety of food from the food trucks onsite. Wine and dine while listening to live musical artists all weekend. There will be vineyard wagon tours available and fireworks on Saturday night.
Jeep owners and guests: be sure to register your jeep. There is a $30 fee for Jeep owners which includes a T-shirt, a display of your Jeep during the festival, and admission for both days. There is a $5 fee for guests 21+ of the Jeep owners (arriving in the Jeep) which covers admission only for both days.


Azalea Festival

Saturday, May 11

Sayen Botanical Gardens, 155 Hughes Drive, Hamilton

Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Rain date: Sunday, May 12)

What a great way to spend Mother’s Day weekend surrounded by flowers. The event features local craft vendors, live music, and food trucks as you stroll through the botanical gardens complete with blooming Azalea shrubs.

Residents and visitors will enjoy a breathtaking display of over 250 thousand flowering bulbs, dogwoods, azaleas, and rhododendrons, landscaped walking paths, fountains, bridges, lakes, gazebos and beautiful scenery, worth a picture or two. Food vendors on site will include Twisted Steaks, Camille’s Cucina, Buzzetta’s, Karen and the Nut, Lilla Vanilla, Chic Gourmet Empanadas, Yoo Cuz, Aunt Martha’s Funnel Cake, Swal Dairy, KK Sweets, D&D Catering, The Fry Boss, and Poppin Don’s Kettle Korn.

Moms can receive free family portraits from 10 am. to 4 p.m. with photographs provided by Group Ventures Unlimited.

Cape May Bird Observatory (Facebook)
Cape May Bird Observatory (Facebook)

New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Spring Festival

Thursday, May 16 – Sunday, May 19

Nature Center of Cape May, 1600 Delaware Ave, Cape May

Check-in at the Wicker Room at the Grand Hotel will start at noon on May 16. Pick up your nametag and ticket to participate in weekend events. Festivities begin with a kick-off party at the Nature Center of Cape May. There will be live music, food trucks, and beer and wine available. Starting on Friday morning, there will be field trips, boat rides, and more, led by local naturalists.

On Saturday, there will be a keynote presentation with refreshments and bird-inspired music called “What We Owe to Birds,” composed by the Princeton-based Consonance Collective, and performed by The BlackBox ensemble. The music explores topics ranging from the evolution of flight, flock migration behavior, birds of urban landscapes, birds endangered by forest fires, and shorebirds conservation.

End the festival experience with a three-hour trip to the Rips boat ride that explores just off the coast of Cape May, or do the driving loop at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.


35th Annual New Jersey Seafood Festival

Friday, May 17 – Sunday, May 19

Silver Lake Park, 5th and Ocean Avenue, Belmar

Time: Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

A seafood fest at the Jersey Shore? But, of course. This three-decade-plus celebration is for seafood lovers and local communities to come together for a weekend of culinary delights and live entertainment. Indulge in an array of seafood dishes, featuring fresh catches from the Atlantic Ocean, prepared by chefs and local vendors. Everything from lobster and clams to shrimp and mussels, there’s something to satisfy the palate. There will also be live music, family-friendly activities, artisanal crafts, and more. This event draws thousands of people every year.


NJ Beer BBQ Bacon Showdown

Saturday, May 18

Mennen Arena Field, 161 Hanover Avenue, Morris Plains

Time: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets: $90 VIP (before May 4) and $60 General Admission (before May 4)

Beer and bacon? Sign me up. The Beer BBQ Bacon Showdown is New Jersey’s first festival, featuring only New Jersey beer, coupled with restaurants, gourmet food trucks, and chefs, offering an array of BBQ and bacon creations, all available for purchase. There will be a competition to showcase their culinary skills, with a panel of celebrity judges choosing the best of the best. 30 New Jersey breweries will be in attendance, each bringing three styles of beer. One style will either be a rare beer or a beer brewed specifically for this event.

The General Admission ticket includes a mason jar mug, beer samples, great music, and a People’s Choice ballot for best beer and best dish.

VIP ticket price includes one-hour early entry (noon), a one-hour five-course buffet, everything included with general admission, plus meet and greets with the brewers, pitmasters, and chefs, and first access to the rare and specialty beer.

Proceeds benefit the Chester First Aid Squad.

Dogs and cats snuggle together

Pet Lovers Fest Hosted by Father John’s Animal House

Saturday, May 18

The Shops at Lafayette, 75 Route 15, Lafayette

Time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pet Lover’s Fest is just that---a celebration of pets to raise money for the homeless animals at Father John’s, whose mission is to care for and rehome homeless dogs and cats. This kid and pet-friendly event includes vendors, food, music, cat yoga, and a doggie peanut butter eating contest.

Register your dog for the Canine Peanut Butter Eating Contest, or register yourself for one of the cat yoga sessions. There will be other games available like cornhole and Twister.
Don’t have a pet? Adoptable cats and dogs will be on hand.

Dogs should be on non-retractable leashes and cats should be secured as well for everyone’s safety.

Pre-registration is not required but anyone who does will receive a free goodie bag at the event. If you can’t attend, any donation is welcome.

Photo by Roam In Color on Unsplash
Photo by Roam In Color on Unsplash

Asbury Park Vegan Food Festival

Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19

Bradley Park, 101-199 5th Avenue, Asbury Park

Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets: $20-$30

This two-day celebration features vegan and plant-based meals from local chefs, as well as vegan products, plant-based fashions, live music, and so much more. The event was so big last year, that this year, it’s expanding to a second park. There will be tons of vendors in Bradley Park and Atlantic Square Park.

Some vendors include 24 Karrot Spread, Betty’s Icebox, Denis Creations, Henna Squad, Flora Vegetarian, Little Loaf Bakeshop, Nessie’s Tea, Ferrets and Friends, Secret Vegan Kitchen, Lovers Rock Sea Moss, Twisted Potato, Sprout House, Two River Mushroom, and so many more.


Freehold PorchFest

Sunday, May 19

10 E. Main Street, Freehold

Time: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Join the Freehold Borough Arts Council for a day of music and fun throughout the borough. Bands, duos, and solos will perform in multiple locations in downtown Freehold. A map of porch performances will be distributed at the downtown Freehold gazebo. Vendors and artists will also be on hand.

Wildwoods International Kite Festival
Wildwoods International Kite Festival

Wildwoods International Kite Festival

Friday, May 24 – Monday, May 27

On the beach at Rio Grande Avenue, Wildwood

Billed as “a full blown kite festival on steroids,” the 37th annual Wildwoods International Kite Festival kicks off at 7 a.m. on Friday, May 24. The four-day festival begins with the unlocking of the beach ceremony and continues through Monday with the world indoor kite competition and performance.

There will be the annual Nite Kite Show held on the beach on Friday night at 9 p.m. Bring your strobes, spotlights, and of course, kites. Other weekend activities include team flying, stack flying, mystery ballet, quadline performers, and more.

NJ Jerk Fest, New Brunswick (Events Brite)
NJ Jerk Fest, New Brunswick (EventBrite)

New Jersey Jerk Fest

Sunday, May 26

Boyd Park, New Brunswick

Time: 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Tickets: $10-$20

Enjoy Caribbean cuisine, live music, and good vibes at Jerk Fest 2024. It’s a celebration of all things “jerk.” That means everything from spicy jerk chicken to jerk pork, jerk fish, jerk goat, jerk oxtail, and even jerk ice cream. There will be tons of food trucks, food and beverage vendors, crafts, merchandise for sale, live music, kids’ activities, and more.

This list of a dozen festivals is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to May events in New Jersey in 2024. Attend one, 10, 20 or more.

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NJ Street Fairs are back! See the latest 2024 schedule

All New Jersey street fairs are listed in date order. New locations may be added as the year progresses so please check back often for updates.

Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

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