Memorial Day 2016 in New Jersey

••• Janice Berman

The weather Gods have blessed New Jersey with a sunny and 90 degree Memorial Day Weekend! While there's a chance of rain on Memorial Day itself, we've got you covered for the rest of your weekend, and some ideas for Monday, too.

Honor our fallen heroes

While most of us have off from work on Monday and will spend the weekend BBQing with family and friends or taking advantage of sales, we mustn't forget to thank our service members for allowing us to live safely in this country and honor our fallen soldiers.

NorthJersey.com has a list of parades and memorial services across North Jersey. Memorial Day Mass will be celebrated at cemeteries across North Jersey as part of the "Serving God and Country: A Memorial Day Salute to Our Heroes" program. Consult the list of locations for your local celebration.

Kick off this summer's beach weekends

Going "down the shore" is a very popular summer excursion for North Jerseyans, beginning with Memorial Day Weekend. Since we can assume that some of you may be headed South, here are some notable events you'll want to check out:

The beach at Rio Grande Avenue hosts the largest kite festival in North America this weekend (May 27-30, 2016). Kite makers from around the world will showcase their creations. The East Coast Stunt Kite Championships begin at 9am on Saturday and Sunday on the beach, and the World Indoor Kite Competition (fliers will show off their ability to fly kites without wind...

what?) takes place Monday at 11am inside the Wildwoods Convention Center. The Kite Festival Auction will take place on Saturday at 7pm in the Convention Center where festival-goers can bid on a cool, unique kite of their own. Bonus: the Boardwalk Craft Show is also taking place Saturday from 9am to 5pm and Sunday from 9am to 4pm.

Both events are FREE!

50 regional food trucks (Empanada Guy, Waffle de Lys, and more) will line the Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport (May 28-30) for the 2016 Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival. This year's fest features an improved layout for ease of foot traffic and a special early opening time of 11am on Saturday and Sunday. Monday's doors open at 11:30am. Admission is $5 per person and parking is $5. Bring the kids to this one: children 12 and under are free! The festival just posted the menu, so come with a strategy. Guests can also enjoy free family entertainment such as face painting, a bounce house, pony rides, live music, and more.

This 27th annual Cape May Music Festival kicks off May 29th at the Rotary Bandstand with a performance of patriotic music by The Atlantic Brass Band. The festival runs until June 16th and features performances from The Brigadoons (traditional Irish music), New York Chamber Ensemble, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players, and more. The Washington Inn is also catering a Memorial Day party on Sunday, May 29th, from 5pm-7pm. 

Staying up North?

Touted as New Jersey's biggest "wine and barbecue extravaganza", The Garden State Wine Growers Association is hosting 21 local wineries who will offer 200+ wines to sample to attendees of the "Wine & BBQ Experience" at Schooley's Mountain Park in Long Valley.

Nosh on BBQ from award-winning pit masters like Ben's BBQ, Lost in the Woods, Oink and Moo, and more, while listening to the tunes of Honey Island Swamp Band (Saturday) and Astrograss (Sunday).

The Woodland Park Street Fair along McBride Avenue kicks off on Monday, May 30 at 11am with the Memorial Day Parade and continues until 6pm, featuring 100+ vendors, kiddie rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, and just general family fun for all residents to enjoy. The event will stretch from Lackawanna Ave. to Memorial Drive.

The kids will love Turtle Back Zoo's Adventure to Africa, which runs through July 4th. The world's largest antelope now lives right here in West Orange, along with four giraffes, a herd of elund, and ostriches! This weekend will feature an interactive drum circle, a performance by Polka Dot Ron, and Dixieland music.

Bonus: Now that it's officially summer, watch the sheep be sheared at Essex Farm all day on Monday!

Weather permitting, enjoy lunch al fresco on the Delaware River at the aptly named "Memorial Day Picnic by the River" in Knowlton from 1pm to 3pm (140 Rt. 46)

Get your fill of Taylor Ham

Dueling Pork Roll (ahem, Taylor Ham) Festivals. Yes, you read that correctly. On Saturday, May 28th at 10am, The 3rd Annual Pork Roll Festival at Mill Hill Park in Trenton will feature pork roll themed menus from local vendors, contests, live music, and plenty of pork roll history to be learned. Pork Roll Pierogi, anyone?

Please folks, do not confuse this festival with the Heineken-sponsored Trenton Pork Roll Festival at Trenton Social, occurring on the same day, a 10 minute walk away. The "Pork Roll Poutine" on the vendor menu list from The Twisted Biscuit has us getting in our car and driving down to Trenton.

Philly resident's would tell you that the rivalry between these festivals is as strong as Pat and Geno's! We suggest hitting up both and reporting back.


If you're still looking for something to do, might we suggest taking a stroll through one of North Jersey's most beautiful parks, deciding which frank win's in Clifton's hot dog rivalry, or cooling off with a sky-high ice cream cone. If it happens to rain on Monday, indulge in some culture, hit up a craft beer tasting (nothing says MDW like some brewskis!), or grab a book for the next sunny beach weekend!

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