10 Memorial Day Events to Make Your Weekend Memorable

There are dozens of festivals, parades, performances and family-friendly events happening across the state this Memorial Day.

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Memorial Day—the national holiday to remember and honor veterans who have died while serving our country—has become a weekend where friends and families make plans to spend time with one another as the warm summer breeze rolls in.

Whether you’re planning to hang out around the newly opened pool or attend one of the many festivals, parades and performances—there is something for everyone in New Jersey this weekend.

Eat Your Heart Out 

Credit: Jeff Stewart Photography

Photo courtesy of Jeff Stewart Photography

There are numerous food festivals set for this weekend. Grab a bite to eat at the third annual Pork Roll Festival happening in Trenton on May 28. The event, held at Mill Hill Park, includes outdoor food and craft vendors with pork roll-themed menus, live music (all day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), crafts, games, recipe contests and the crowning of the Pork Roll Queen.

The popular Food Truck Festival will also be cooking up a storm this weekend at Monmouth Park. With over 50 trucks participating, attendees can try everything from empanadas and cheesesteaks to cupcakes and lobster rolls while meandering through craft tables and listening to live music. The event, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday, Sunday and Monday, is kid-friendly, including free pony rides, face painting and a bouncy house.

Attend A Fair 
With the theme, “This Is No Damsel In Distress,” the New Jersey Renaissance Faire will take attendees on a wild journey where Vikings will face off at ye olde village of Crossford. Watch the action unfold at Liberty Lake Camp in Bordentown on May 28-29 (as well as June 4, 5, 11 and 12) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For a more casual outing, head to the 37th Annual May Fair in Collingswood. Held in the mile-long business district along Haddon Avenue, this popular fair includes over 200 artists and crafters, food, local produce, an antique and classic car show, live music featuring blues, rock, folk and more, and plenty of activities for the kids in the KidZone, featuring pony rides, carnival games and more.

Catch Candy At A Parade 

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: b k

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: b k

Watch as firetrucks go by and salute our troops at one of the dozens of Memorial Day parades happening in towns across the state. A parade of note is Freehold’s 142nd Memorial Day Parade—one of the oldest Memorial Day parades in the state—kicking off on Main Street at 10 a.m. on May 30. Check your local listings for parades near you.

Groove To Funky Tunes 
Celebrating 27 years of bringing music to the shore area, the annual Cape May Music Festival kicks off at Cape May Convention Hall on May 29 at 8 p.m., with a performance by the Atlantic Brass Band, presented under Salvatore Scarpa. The festival runs through June 16.

The Bradley Beach Memorial Day Weekend Boardwalk Festival, set for May 28-30, includes craft and food vendors, a parade (May 28 at 10 a.m.) and live music all weekend long. Performances will include the Kenny Young Band, DJ Versatile, the Poncho ‘D’ Group and more.

Remember Our Vets 

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: Austin Kirk

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: Austin Kirk

Memorial Day is all about remembering and honoring veterans who died while serving our country. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation will honor vets with a Memorial Day Ceremony on May 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Holmdel. The program will include a presentation of wreaths, a presentation of colors, live music, a speech by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and more.

A smaller event, though no less patriotic, is the Joyce-Herbert VFW Post 226 Veteran’s Museum 10th Anniversary, which the nonprofit will be celebrating on May 28 from noon to 4 pm. The museum, located on 9th Street in Bayonne, is bursting with military artifacts and historical documents spanning from the Revolutionary War up to present day and is largely focused on educating visitors about how veterans have served our country—with an emphasis on local heroes.

Appease The Kids 

Courtesy of Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority

Courtesy of Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority

The annual Wildwoods International Kite Festival, held at the Wildwoods Convention Center, is a family favorite. Kicking off with a Friday night social and an illuminated kite fly at 9 p.m., the event runs through Memorial Day and the schedule includes kite workshops, family games and the World Indoor Kite Competition set for May 30.

Another activity that’s fun for the whole family is a visit to one of New Jersey’s dozen or so water parks, located across the state. Most water parks will be holding their grand openings this Memorial Day weekend—find up-to-date information on these water-themed amusement parks here.

Drink Up 
Enjoy a glass of wine, or two, or three at the Wine & BBQ Experience, New Jersey’s biggest wine and barbecue extravaganza. The festival, held at Schooley’s Mountain Park in Washington Township,  kicks off May 28 and runs from 12 to 5 p.m. through Memorial Day. Wine tastings run from noon to 4:30 p.m. each day with samplings from 21 of the state’s wineries.

Enjoy a day of wine-sipping and blues-listening at Natali Vineyard’s Blues & BBQ event in Cape May Courthouse set for May 29 from 2 to 7 p.m. Blues singer Danny Eyer will perform as attendees sip on wine, sangria and wine slushies—children and pets are welcome at this free event.

Stay Indoors 

Barnegat Lighthouse Stock Photo

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: Daniel D’Auria.

The Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park will be hosting a night climb at “Old Barney” on May 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. You can also escape the sun (or thunderstorms) with the marine life at Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach or by visiting one of the state’s 37 small museums that host unique exhibits—like the beach-themed Ocean, Sand, Coral & Shell exhibit at the Morris Museum, running now through August 28.

Watch The Night Sky… 

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: C. Fountainstand.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: C. Fountainstand.

For fireworks! Weather-permitting, both Waretown and Asbury Park will be shooting off fireworks this weekend. Fireworks will go off in Waretown in celebration of Founders Day on May 28 beginning at dusk at the Frederic A. Priff Elementary School in Waretown.

Asbury Park will celebrate the kick off of summer with their own firework display on May 29 at 9 p.m. at the Asbury Park boardwalk.

Visit The Beach! 

Beach stock photo Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

It wouldn’t be a proper Memorial Day weekend in New Jersey without the obligatory visit to your favorite beach. Be sure to download New Jersey Monthly’s free Jersey Shore Beach Guide app, before you go. The app includes everything from the latest bar and nightlife listings to beach-tag and parking fee information on 40 beach destinations across the state. Don’t forget to check out our Ultimate Jersey Shore Beach Guide, as well.

And, speaking of beaches, make sure to vote in New Jersey Monthly‘s Shore Town Showdown to help us determine the best beach in New Jersey. Vote today!

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