Before the hectic haze of the holidays sets in, now's the time to enjoy the crisp Autumn air and all that the harvest has to offer. From the spooky to the spicy to the spectacular—and everything in between—experience the Garden State, in true Fall style, at these unique fall festivals.
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The Great Pumpkin Festival
Touted as the "largest Fall Festival in North Jersey", The Great Pumpkin Festival at Heaven Hill Farm promises all of the fall fun you didn't even know you needed. The farm offers up 30+ activities, including shows and games with the wackiest of names: Vortex Tunnel, Dancing Robot Show, Post Pounders, and Poly Pong. Don't forget to pick your own pumpkins for that fresh-baked pumpkin pie or jack-o-lantern! Visit on weekends, specifically, for carnival rides and pig races.
Admission: $10 per person
Time: September 17th through November 6th (Wednesday-Sunday).
Address: 451 State Route 94, Vernon; 973-764-5144
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Scarecrows in the Village
Engage your spooky (and crafty!) side at the Scarecrows in the Village event in Lawrenceville. Perhaps you've seen scarecrows on farms or passed by a scarecrow or two set up on your neighbor's lawn. Have you ever seen the center of a town filled with individually-made scarecrows? These festive mascots stand proudly in the town square after attendees create their own scarecrows with any materials personally provided. This activity promises spooktacular fun for all ages. Face painting and pumpkin painting round out the activities. Listen to live music as you eat the tasty food available from a variety of vendors. The Scarecrows in the Village event has run continuously since 1999. We guess the scarecrows haven't scared away the attendees!
Time: Saturday, October 16, 2016 from 2:00 pm-4:00 pm
Address: Weeden Park, Lawrenceville, NJ, 08638
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If you're looking to commemorate the beauty of fall, look no further than the Autumnfest in Pompton Lakes. It even has autumn in the name! Pompton Lakes provides a picturesque backdrop for this festival that celebrates the season with handmade candles, baked goods, and a coffee bar! Delightfully flavorful apple cider and hot chocolate are for sale as well. The Pompton Lakes Autumnfest, previously known as Kirkfest (Dutch for "church fair") has been around since the 1940s. A windmill even accompanies the sign to add Dutch flair. This quaint event also gives visitors an opportunity to shop for one of a kind holiday and Thanksgiving gifts. To add to the carnival atmosphere, cotton candy, old-fashioned candy, and delicious pretzels are on the menu too. Visitors can consider donating some of their own canned food, which is collected at the event for the coming season, to the church's food pantry.
Time: Saturday, October 19, 2016, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Ad...dress: 59 Hamburg Turnpike, Pompton Lakes, NJ, 07442
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Celebrate Fall with plenty of fall fun and goats, yes goats, in Summit at Reeves-Reed Arboretum. Each year, a herd of goats from Rhinebeck, NY come and "clear the Daffodil Bowl" during this festival, along with generally just being cute and adorable for all patrons of the event. Enjoy face painting, music, crafts, games, pumpkin decorating, a costume parade, and light bites from the vendors on hand. If you're super crafty, drop off your creatively carved pumpkins by October 22nd to be entered into the pumpkin carving contest. Find details on the website; no candles, please! If you're into the spooky side of fall, With Halloween right around the corner, families can explore our Spooky Trail, decorate a pumpkin, and join our costume parade. Or enjoy the golden autumn colors and crisp weather with some yummy fare from one of the vendors.
Admission: FREE for members, $10 per person for non-members with a $25 family maximum
Time: Sunday, October 23, 2016, from 11am to 4:00 pm
Ad...dress: 165 Hobart Ave, Summit, NJ 07901Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Fall Family Day
Fall Family Day at the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms is the perfect place to learn about the history of a famous local furniture maker (and national celebrity), Gustav Stickley, as well as try your hand at your very own "handcrafts" after witnessing expert handcraft demonstrations. The farm will have no shortage of traditional fall activities including scavenger hunts and pumpkin painting. Of course, no visit would be complete without taking one of the always popular hayrides!
Admission: $7 for children who are not members of the museum; free for adults accompanying children
Time: Sunday, October 16, 2016, from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Address: 2352 Route 10 West, Morris Plains, NJ, 07950
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Chester Harvest Celebration
This year's main attraction at the Chester Harvest Celebration presents the perfect chance to indulge in the ultimate fall comfort-foods: Soup & Chili Cookoff. Added bonus: desserts will be judged as well... it wouldn't be a true fall festival without the sweets! $20 gets you the full tasting with 18 samplings. Plus, enjoy fun demos like wood carving and pumpkin carving, a clown performance, face painting, live music, raffles, and of course a pumpkin weight guessing game! Arrive early: only 700 tickets will be sold at the gate.
Admission: $20 for a full tasting (18 samples - adults); $10 for a half tasting (9 samples - ages 7 to 13) - cash only
Time: Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16, 2016, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
Address: Perry Street, Chester, NJ
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Whippany Pumpkin Festival
The Whippany Railway Museum's Pumpkin Festival offers visitors the chance to say they rode upon a "Pumpkinliner". Yes, for a nominal fee, ride aboard an antique train through the Whippanong Trail for 30 minutes. Pro-tip: Take the ride from the restored 1927-era railroad car called the Jersey Coast for a few dollars more: you'll be transported. Cross leaf peeping and a fun fall festival off of your 2016 Fall bucket list. Don't stop there; dozens of crafters will be present for all of your Halloween-themed-goodie needs. Visitors will also enjoy an antique tractor display.
Admission: $9 for children; $14 for adults (train ride tickets)
Time: Sunday, October 2, 2016, from 12:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Address: 1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany, NJ 07981
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Bottle Hill Day
Bottle Hill Day, an annual event that has run for over 30 years in Madison, is an all-out extravaganza. One of the hallmarks of the festival pays homage to the community's history of dog shows by holding several of them during the day, open to any pet owners who would like to bring their furry friends with them to the contest and parade. These shows, put on by the Morris and Essex Kennel Club, attract thousands of dog owners every year. Adding to the fall flavor is the festival's new Beer Garden and the perennial favorite "barn hunt" site. 200+ vendors are scheduled to attend the event, which will also host live music on 4 stages. Food and craft vendors as well as a car show with music from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s will be on tap. Children's activities will also be sprinkled throughout the grounds. Finally, who said fireworks were only for the 4th of July? Once it gets dark, a stunning fireworks display ends the night on Tilghman Field on the campus of Drew... University.
Admission: Entrance is free. Food and drinks are priced individually. Car registration for the car show is $20 per car.
Time: Saturday, October 1, 2016 from 10:00 am-5:00 pm; fireworks show from 8:30 pm-10:00 pm
Address: Dodge Field, 49 Central Avenue, Madison, NJ, 07940 and Tilghman Field at Drew University on 36 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ, 07940