24 Fab Fests and Amazing Mazes For Fall Fun

Autumn in the Garden State is a cornucopia of fun attractions (and tasty seasonal treats) for the whole family to enjoy.

Lentini Farm in Newton.
Lentini Farm in Newton.
Photo by Joe Polillio

Cranberry Harvest Tours at Whitesbog
October Weekends
On this 160-year-old farm, fifth-generation cranberry grower Brenda Conner leads visitors on tours of the bogs, where crews gather the fruit from a sea of floating cranberries. Cranberry tastings and cooking demonstrations follow the tours. Tours depart at 9 am. $38. Whitesbog Village, 1674 Route 70, Browns Mills (609-500-1074)

Family Fun Weekends at Terhune Orchards
October weekends
Fun family activities abound at Terhune Orchards. Kids can romp through the corn maze, take a pony ride, meet the farm animals and paint pumpkins. The whole family can fill up on farm-fresh food, including soup, chili, pies and apple cider. Adults can sample wine in the tasting room. 10 am-5 pm. $3-$5. 330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton

Ralston Cider Mill Museum Tours
October weekends
New Jersey’s last remaining cider mill, Ralston once produced millions of gallons of apple cider, applejack and bootleg Jersey Lightning. These days, volunteers lead tours while explaining the production process and history of the mill.  Don’t forget to ask about the resident ghosts. $5. 336 Mendham Road West, Mendham

The Glow: A Jack O’Lantern Experience
October weekends
Step into this pumpkin wonderland with a stroll down Jack’s Lane, a path lined with detailed pumpkin carvings and larger-than-life sculptures of rock stars and political figures. Marvel at the ghostly pirate ship Revenge and wander into Prehistoric Park with 16-foot-tall dinosaurs. Fri-Sat, 6:30-10:30 pm; Sun, 6:30-9:30  pm. Kids, $16;  adults, $22. Monmouth Park, 175 Oceanport Ave, Oceanport

Oktoberfest in Historic Cape May
October 1
The heart of Cape May is transformed into the site of a German folk festival, complete with authentic food, a beer garden, and crafts, antiques and collectibles for sale. 10 am-5 pm. Free. Jackson Street, Cape May.  (609- 884-5508)

Gloucester County 4H Fall Festival & Trunk or Treat
October 1
Recruit a team, build a giant slingshot, and come ready to compete against fellow launchers at the pumpkin chunkin’. Other events include a haunted house, hayrides and a costume contest. Bring nonperishable goods for donation to local food bank as your entry fee. The festival is sponsored by 4H. 4-9  pm (rain date October 2). 275 Bridgeton Pike, Mullica Hill

Oktoberfest in Historic Smithville
October 1-2
Spicy wursts and rich drafts give an authentic feel to Historic Smithville’s annual Oktoberfest celebration. There’s traditional music, too. Explore the unique shops and boutiques along the cobblestone pathways, and browse more than 100 craft, clothing and jewelry vendors. 10 am-5 pm. Free. (609-652-7777)

Jersey Fresh Grand Harvest Festival
October 1-2
Raise a glass to the Garden State’s wine harvest with a day spent sampling the variety of vintages from New Jersey’s premier wineries. Live bands, local food, and craft vendors add to the festive spirit. Noon-5 pm. $30 per day; $5 for non-samplers 21 and over. Fosterfields Living Historical Farm, 73 Kahdena Road, Morris Township (609-588-0085)

Pumpkin Palooza 2016
October 1-2
The Garden State Discovery Museum and Springdale Farms team up for their annual pumpkin celebration. Pony rides, hayrides, a corn maze, fall-themed crafts, a moon bounce and pumpkin painting are sure to keep everyone entertained. 11 am-5 pm. $20 non-members, $15 members. 2040 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill (856-424-1233)

25th Annual Blackwood Pumpkin Festival
October 2
Support Main Stage Center for the Arts at their fall festival–complete with more than 200 vendors, pumpkin painting and carving, scarecrow making, hayrides, a costume contest and a talent competition. 11 am-4 pm (rain date: October 9). Free. Main Stage Center for the Arts, 27 S Black Horse Pike, Blackwood

Lord Stirling 1770s Festival
October 2
Go back to Colonial times at the 18th-century estate of Revolutionary War hero Lord Stirling. Experience a war reenactment, ask craftspeople—including a gunsmith, trapper and broom maker—about their trades, enjoy period music and tour a 1762 wine cellar. 11:30 am-4:30 pm. $5 suggested donation. 96 Lord Stirling Road, Basking Ridge (908-766-2489)

13th Annual South Jersey Pumpkin Show
October 7-9
This three-day, family-oriented festival includes a pumpkin weigh-off, pumpkin food contests, Little Miss & Mister pageant, costumed dog parade and two readings of Sleepy Hollow with live appearances from the Headless Horseman. Fri, 5-9 pm; Sat, 10 pm-8 pm; Sun, 10 am-5 pm. Free; parking $5. Salem County Fairgrounds, 735 Harding Highway (Route 40), Woodstown (856-765-0118)

West Cape May Lima Bean Festival
October 8
Show some love for the humble lima bean at this annual festival benefiting the West Cape May Shade Tree Commision. Locals and visitors can enjoy recipes, products and crafts featuring the often left-out legume. 9 am-5  pm (rain date: October 9). Free. Wilbraham Park, Myrtle Avenue and West Perry Street, West Cape May (609-408-2556)

19th Annual Screamin’ Country Jamboree
October 8-9
Keyport’s big country festival is full of small-town fun. Learn to square dance, watch the fireworks display,  enjoy live country music and enter your kids in the children’s screaming competitions. The chili contest on Sunday welcomes chili connoisseurs and samplers alike. Sat, 11 am-8  pm; Sun, 11 am-6  pm. Free. Keyport Waterfront Park, Keyport (732-739-5138)

Mum Madness & Pumpkin Parade
October 8-9
Celebrate the rich shades of autumn and the season’s signature fruit at the Camden Children’s Garden. Kids can paint pumpkins, make fall crafts and listen to a pumpkin story while surrounded by colorful chrysanthemums. 1-4  pm. Free with garden admission. Camden Children’s Garden, 3 Riverside Drive, Camden (856-365-8733)

Indian Summer Weekend
October 8-10
With more than 400 craft vendors, live bands and seafood samplings, this Ocean City celebration promises to be a busy weekend of family fun. Join in the block party on Asbury Avenue and stick around for the fireworks over the boardwalk. All day. Free. Ocean City (800-BEACH-NJ)

Chatsworth’s 33rd Annual Cranberry Festival
October 17-18
Celebrate the culture of the Pine Barrens and the cranberry harvest—a tradition in Chatsworth since the late 1800s. Local artists, vendors and craftspeople will demonstrate and display their work. Buy some jams, jellies and baked cranberry goods, and listen to classic rock band Bullzeye. Check out antique cars at the Classic Car Show on Sunday. 9 am-4 pm. Free. Downtown Chatsworth (609-726-0006)

Family Fall Float Festival
October 16
Launch a canoe or kayak from Smithville Park on Rancocas Creek and join in the buoyant brigade. As you float across the water, take in the foliage surrounding Smithville Lake. 9 am-2 pm float; festival until 4 PM. Free. Historic Smithville Park & Smith’s Woods, 803 Smithville Road, Mount Holly (609-265-5858)

Sugarloaf Crafts Festival
October 21-23
The work of more than 250 craftspeople will be featured,  including jewelry, woodworking, sculpture and home accessories. The family-friendly event also includes plenty of specialty foods, live music and children’s entertainment. Fri -Sat, 10 am-6 pm; Sun, 10 am-5  pm. $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Garden State Exhibit Center, 50 Atrium Drive, Somerset

Autumn Art & Crafts Show in Pitman
October 22-23
Start your holiday shopping early with Pitman’s indoor craft show.  Local artists and craftsmen will offer handmade wares from jewelry, scarves and clothing to home decor, candles and quilts. Sat, 11 am-9 pm, Sun, 11 am-6 pm. Virtua Total Turf Experience, 614 Lambs Road, Pitman

Harvest Food Truck & Wine Festival
October 22-23
Award-winning food trucks will serve their celebrated fare amid the landscape of Alba Vineyard. The event features live music and wine tastings (additional cost). Noon to 5 pm. Adults, $10; children aged 13 to 20, $5; 12 and under, free. Alba Vineyard, 269 Riegelsville Warren Glen Road, Milford (908-995-7800)

6th Annual WinterNights Viking Festival
October 23
Live like the Vikings did at this festival recreating a legendary Nordic harvest celebration. Enjoy Nordic foods, artisan vendors and presentations about Viking culture. Norsewind Band will be returning as well as singer Kellianna Girouard. This year’s theme is “Alfheim,” meaning homeland of the elves. 11:30 am to 4:30 pm. Adults, $3; seniors and children, $2; under 12, free. Vernon Nordic House, 233 Route 94, Vernon

Rise Of the Jack O’Lanterns
October 27-30
A pathway of 5,000 hand-carved, illuminated pumpkins sets the scene for this festival of fall art. Rise will feature life-sized dinosaurs, dragons, safari animals and popular characters created from pumpkins. Visitors can watch artists create the displays at live carving stations. 10 am-10:30 pm. Advance tickets required. Kids and seniors, $22; adults, $26. Meadowlands Exposition Center, 355 Plaza Drive, Secaucus

Mischief Madness Night
October 28
Enjoy cider donuts and miniature golf with fellow ghouls. Come in your spookiest costume and enjoy scary storytelling, nighttime hayrides and a Park Ranger-guided hike. 4-9 pm (rain date: October 31). $10 per family; $8 for a golfing pair. Colonial Park Putting Course, 156 Mettlers Road, Somerset

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