Fun For All

New events and old favorites abound on the summer’s Shore calendar.

Photo by Marc Steiner/ANJ.

What’s a body to do Down the Shore this summer? Here’s a roundup of events not to be missed.

Lighthouse International Film Festival
June 4–6

Founded last summer and named in honor of Long Beach Island’s “Old Barney,” this three-day festival gathers film enthusiasts and industry leaders to enjoy many varieties of new films, panel discussions, networking, and even a night with the World Arm Wrestling Federation Champions at Daddy O. Since it is summertime after all, there will also be free surfing movies at Beach 5 Stadium Theatre and a Sea Shell Festival Beach Party on Sunday to announce festival winners. For times, ticket information, and event locations throughout LBI, visit lighthousefilmfestival.org.

West Cape May Strawberry Festival
June 5

Strawberry season in the Garden State is unfortunately short—only two to three weeks in mid-May to early June, so head down to West Cape May for its annual strawberry festival to get plump, juicy berries while you can. Held in Wilbraham Park, the festivities will run from 9 am to 5 pm. Fresh strawberries, strawberry shortcake, seafood, kettle corn, fresh produce, and barbecued meats will be for sale. Vendors will offer antiques, arts and crafts, and handmade jewelry. There will be live entertainment, including the always popular crowning of the new Strawberry Queen and King. Parking and admission are free. (609-884-9325, westcapemaytoday.com)

Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Festival
June 5–6

It may have a new name and venue this year, but you’ll still find the best of New Jersey jazz and blues as well as national acts at this 24th annual music weekend. Formerly known as River Fest and later the Red Bank Jazz and Blues Festival, the event is now at Monmouth Park Racetrack (due to construction of Marine Park in Red Bank). In addition to three stages of music, with headliners including Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King, John Pizzarelli, and T.J. Wheeler, you could also get lucky with some horse racing bets on the weekend of the Belmont Stakes. Sat–Sun, noon–8 pm; $3. Oceanport Ave, Oceanport. (732-933-1984, jerseyshorefestival.org)

13th Annual Barnegat Bay Festival
June 6

Whether you swim, fish, kayak, clam, sail or ice boat on Barnegat Bay, celebrate this unique natural resource of New Jersey at the Wanamaker Complex in Island Heights for the Barnegat Bay Festival. From 10 am to 4 pm, rain or shine, enjoy free scavenger hunts, face painting, music, pontoon boat tours, canoe ecotours, hands-on demonstrations and more. Artisans and crafters will be selling custom fishing rods, jewelry, marine art, and photographs. Festival food will run the gamut from funnel cake to Caribbean and Cajun specialties. (732-255-0472, bbnep.org)

New Orleans Carnivale and Crafters’ Fair
June 6

While Mardi Gras is the largest celebration of the Big Easy lifestyle, it isn’t the only fest of New Orleans culture. The Carnivale and Crafters’ Fair at Renault Winery Resort & Golf (72 North Bremen Avenue, Egg Harbor City) will feature New Orleans cuisine and live music with Ed Wise, a former Louisiana musician, and his New Orleans Jazz Band, playing in the tradition of Louis Armstrong and Pete Fountain from noon to 5 pm. About 50 crafters will be on the festival grounds displaying their wares as well as balloonmakers and stiltwalkers for the kids. Winery tours and wine tasting and Renault’s historic Antique Wine Glass Museum will be available. Admission and parking is free. (609-965-2111, renaultwinery.com)

New Jersey Seafood Festival
June 11–13

What’s more Jersey than munching fresh seafood at the Shore? At this always-popular event (which adds Friday night times this year), you can chow down on delights from the sea, including massive lobsters, shrimp, crab cakes, and even conch fritters, prepared by local restaurants. You can browse craft vendors and jam to live music by the water while enjoying your seafood spread. Held at Silver Lake Park in Belmar for the 24th summer, admission is free, and food is available for purchase. Friday, 4-7 pm; Saturday–Sunday, 11 am–7 pm. 501 Ocean Ave, Belmar. (732-681-3700, belmar.com)

Jersey Shore Fine Arts Festival
June 12–13

Ship Bottom greets the return of the Jersey Shore Fine Arts Festival. More than 150 top artisans from across the United States and overseas will travel to Ethel A. Jacobsen Field (Barnegat Ave & W 5th St) to exhibit over 15,000 pieces of world-class artwork. Artists will be available Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission and parking are free. (609-494-7211, jerseyshoreartfest.com)

Spring Lake Irish Festival
June 19

Journey to the “Irish Riviera”—also known as Spring Lake—for the town’s inaugural Irish Festival. Stroll the Third Avenue business district to sample local cuisine, see lively step dancers perform, and hear authentic Irish music by bagpipers, as well as local bands including the Snakes, Paddy and the Pale Boys, the Bantry Boys, and the Session. 1–6 pm; free. (732 449-0577, springlake.org)

Cape May Wine Trail
June 20

If winery hopping entices your inner oenophile, check out the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts’ Cape May Wine Trail. Enjoy lunch at a pre-selected Cape May restaurant followed by visits to at least three area vineyards including the Cape May Winery, Turdo Vineyards, Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery, or Natali Vineyards. Tickets are $75 per person and include a collectible wine-tasting glass. (800-275-4278, capemaymac.org)

Ocean City Restaurant Week
June 20–27

An affordable way to enjoy Ocean City edibles, the town’s second Restaurant Week will include two-for-one offers for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks at all boardwalk and downtown restaurants that belong to the Ocean City Restaurant Association. The week kicks off Sunday the 20th at noon with the Hungry Man Race, a $10 family-friendly relay involving teams of four, chef hats, and eating tasks. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Community Food Bank New Jersey. (eatinocnj.com)

Summer Solstice Walk
June 21

Get the most out of the longest day of the year. Join the American Littorial Society for an evening stroll along the beach at Guardian Park at Fort Hancock, and take a tour of the gun battery. The walk and sunset views are free and begin at 8 pm, but call ahead to reserve a spot. 18 S Hartshorne Dr, Highlands. (732-291-0055, littoralsociety.org)

87th Annual National Marbles Tournament
June 21–24

Champions selected from local tournaments around the country will converge on Wildwood for serious marble competition. The “mibsters” (marble shooters), ages 8-14, will play more than 1,200 games, vying for national honors, college scholarships, and numerous prizes and awards. The winning male and female will literally be crowned victors of the tournament, and the male winner will bestow a congratulatory kiss on the winning female. Held at Ringer Stadium (Wildwood Avenue on the beach) in Wildwood from 8 am to 1 pm daily, the tournament is free to spectators. (304-337-2764, nationalmarblestournament.org)

AVP Nivea Tour Belmar Open
June 25–27

For the last twenty years, Belmar and beach volleyball have been a dynamic duo. That is, until the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tournament broke away from the Jersey coast venue last summer (moving to Maryland). But don’t worry, the pros learned their lesson and are back in Belmar (for the seventeenth time in twenty years), serving up intensity on the sand and fun for the whole family on the beach just north of the Taylor Pavillion. Fri, 8 am–6 pm; Sat, 9 am–6:45 pm; Sun, 8 am–5:30 pm; $5–$50. Fifth and Ocean avenues, Belmar. (belmar.com)

Cape May’s Sixth Annual Designer Show House
June 25–January 2
Starting this summer, you can marvel at the transformation of the first floor and grounds of the historic Fairthorne Cottage, a three-story Gothic and Victorian stick-style bed and breakfast, which is this year’s designer show house in Cape May. Top area designers and suppliers renovated the space with a new floor plan and kitchen, and illuminated elements such as the enclosed front porch, powder room, and more. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, self-guided tours are offered daily, 1–4 pm; Sun–Fri, 7–9 pm, and can be combined with lunch and dinner packages; $7–$10. 115 Ocean St, Cape May. (800-275-4278, capemaymac.org)

Freckle Contest
July 1

Calling all freckle faces! Time to show ‘em at the annual Freckle Contest at the Ocean City Music Pier. This popular event has categories for young, old, and those who must resort to fake freckles. All are welcome to participate (a few Dalmatians even entered last year) and entry is free; prizes will be awarded to the freckliest. Registration begins at 6 pm the contest kicks off at 6:30 pm. Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace, Ocean City. (609-525-9300, oceancitychamber.com)

New Jersey State Barbecue Championship
July 9–11

Warning: Reading this will make your mouth water. Smothered ribs, juicy chicken, tender pork, and smokin’ brisket are just a hint of what you’ll taste as barbecue teams from all over the country compete to take home the top honors. As if that isn’t enough, the Angelsea Blues Festival is held in conjunction, so you can enjoy bluesy tunes while you nibble (or devour) barbecue so good you’ll lick your lips the rest of the summer. Fri, 4–11 pm; Sat, 10 am–11 pm; Sun, 10 am–6 pm; free. 201 New Jersey Ave, North Wildwood. (609-523-6565, njbbq.com)

Ten Year Celebration Clambake
July 10

The Tuckerton Seaport maritime village highlights its tenth anniversary celebration with a classic clambake, along with music by party band Shorty Long and the Jersey Horns. Don’t miss the evening of games, raffles, a silent auction, door prizes, dancing, tours, boat rides, and of course, all the fresh seafood you can handle. Tickets are $65 per person for members and $85 per person for non-members. 6–9 pm. 120 W Main St, Tuckerton. (609-296-8868, tuckertonseaport.org)

Jersey Cape Antique Auto Show
July 10

Attention gearheads! Cape May will host its 43rd Annual Jersey Cape Antique Auto Show from 10 am to 2 pm at Rotary Park behind the Washington Street Mall. There will be approximately 40 vintage automobiles. Expect a variety of cars from all over the region, including Mustangs from the ’60s, T-Birds from the ’50s, and Model-A Fords from the ’30s. Three trophies will be awarded: Drivers’ Choice, Peoples’ Choice, and Best of Show. As a memento, visitors will receive a dash plaque with this year’s featured car, a 1935 Ford Woody Station Wagon. Admission is free. (609-884-9565, capemaycity.org)

New Jersey Sand Castle Contest
July 14

Grab your shovels, buckets, and bathing suits! Belmar is hosting its 24th Annual New Jersey Sand Castle Contest. Located at 18th Avenue Beach, the contest runs from 8 am to noon, with judging and an awards ceremony directly after. Three prizes will be awarded in each of six categories. Free and open to participants of all ages. There will be giveaways, drinks, snacks, music and much more. (NJsandcastle.com)

8th Annual New Jersey Ice Cream Festival
July 17

What could be better on a hot July day than endless ice cream? At the New Jersey Ice Cream Festival in Toms River, $6 in advance ($7 day-of) gets you three and a half hours of non-stop tasting from top national and local creameries. Lactose intolerant? With games, inflatable rides, a balloon artist, face painter, stilt walker, and appearances by the Trenton Devils’ mascot “Scorch” and the NJ State Dairy Princess, the festival has something for everyone. (downtowntomsriver.com)

Morey’s Piers Beach Lacrosse Tournament
July 17–18

The oldest sport in North America just got a new look. For the first time, Morey’s Piers will add a lacrosse tournament to its beach games. One of the only beach lacrosse tournaments worldwide, the event invites players of all ages to Wildwood for three days of stick-to-sand action, as well as to enjoy the waterparks, beach, and famous boardwalk. The games, which will be held Saturday (10 am to 6 pm) and Sunday (9 am to 3 pm) on the beach between Garfield and Spencer avenues, are five versus five, with four field players plus a goalie, and a maximum ten players per team. Each team will play three games, with a possible fourth finals game. The matches are free to spectators who can watch from the Wildwoods Boardwalk, the piers, and on the beach at designated areas. (MoreysPiers.com)

Merchants of Venice Seafood Festival and Night in Venice Boat Parade
July 24–25
Ocean City will host its annual Merchants of Venice Seafood Festival on July 23 from 5 to 9 pm from 6th to 9th streets on Asbury Avenue. Admission is free. An array of seafood will be sold by more than 40 vendors. There are rides for children and crafters selling wares. The following day, the city will hold its annual Night in Venice Boat Parade at 7:30 pm at the Longport Bridge. Boats will sail along the bay and in and out of the lagoons to 23rd street and South Harbor. Grandstands will be set up at the street ends. Seating is free. Cash prizes will be awarded to the best-decorated lagoon homes and boats in various categories. (609-525-9300)

National Park Service All-Women Lifeguard Tournament
July 28

You won’t catch any glamorized Baywatch babes here. At the largest women-only lifeguard competition in the country at the Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, saving lives is serious business. See more than 200 female lifeguards (representing beach towns from New York to Maryland) compete in fitness challenges to show off surf-lifeguarding skills. Events include surfboard and kayaking races, a one-mile beach run, a kayaking challenge, team relays, and much more. 8:30 am–1:45 pm; free. (718-354-4623, ilsf.org)

Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival
July 29–August 1

After serving up a successful food event last summer, Harrah’s Entertainment is doubling the bill of fare this season in partnership with the Food Network and Condé Nast Traveler. The 40 events include cooking demonstrations, wine and spirits seminars, and tasting parties. The festival will deliver national and regional chefs and restaurateurs, including celebrity chefs from the Food Network, including Guy Fieri, Sandra Lee, Ted Allen, and Pat and Gina Neely. Event tickets start at $30. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure. (acfoodandwine.com)

Miss Crustacean Hermit Crab Beauty Pageant and Hermit Crab Races
August 4

Hermit crab hopefuls will compete for the title of Miss Crustacean at 1 pm at Ocean City’s 6th Street Beach. Following in the claw steps of 36 past title holders including Crabunzel and Copacrabana, the 2010 Queen of All Crabs will be awarded the coveted Cucumber Rind Cup, a large trophy with a cucumber inside. The winner will crawl down a flower bedecked runaway while the pageant’s theme song, “Here It Comes, Miss Crustacean,” is led by Shelly the mermaid and Elvis performer Ted Prior. Following the pageant, about 150 crab athletes will compete in races. Heat winners then face-off in a championship run. The winner is declared “The King of Klutz” and receives a plaque. Youth rock band 1-2-3 Draw will perform during the races. Both events are free, and there is no need to pre-register. (609-525-9300)

101st Annual Wildwoods Baby Parade
August 4

A Wildwood tradition since 1909, the Wildwoods Baby Parade will feature some of the country’s cutest ankle biters being paraded down the Wildwoods Boardwalk in costumes and decorated floats and wagons. Registration is free and takes place at the Wildwoods Convention Center, from which the procession takes off at 6 pm toward 16th Street in North Wildwood. Rain date is August 5. (609-729-4000, wildwoodsnj.com)

Weird Contest Week
August 16–20

During the weirdest week on the boardwalk, kids won’t get in trouble for playing with their food—it’s encouraged! Head to Ocean City Music Pier to try your hand at sculpting masterpieces using saltwater taffy and French fries. Wacky events include artistic pie eating contests (some in the shape of New Jersey), a wet T-shirt tossing competition, and celebrity super-hero impersonations. The free contests (with prizes!) begin at 11 am each day. Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk, Ocean City. (609-525-9300, oceancitychamber.com)

Thunder Over the Boardwalk
August 25

Grab a beach chair and watch planes soar in the blue at up to 15,000 feet, dive toward the ocean with risky aerobatic maneuvers, and show off impressive formations at the always-popular Atlantic City Air Show. Witness special demonstrations by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, and many more performances by military and civilian pilots. 10 am–3:30 pm; free. (609-348-7000; atlanticcitynj.com)

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  1. Kathryn Wright

    Cumberland County Fair, July 7-11, 2015, Cumberland County Fairgrounds, 3001 Carmel Rd, Millville NJ 08332 Truck Pull Friday Night, Mudd Bog Saturday afternoon, Demo Derby Sat. Night. Little MIss & Mister Pageant, July 7th at 5pm, ages 4-8, Baby Stroller Parade at 2pm, July 8th, all week, rides, comedy shows, racing pigs, 4-H BBQ, 4-H Shows and exhibits, Food, Live bands, DJ Pepper Paul and more.
    http://www.cumberlandcofair.com 856-825-3820