The NJ State Fair, A LGBT Pride Picnic, A Pond Tour, A Real Housewife, and Endless Summer Concerts
Enjoy the first official weekend of summer in New Jersey with a litany of concerts, fairs, picnics, tours, and more to choose from!
The upcoming first real weekend of summer here in New Jersey kicks off the season with equal parts of both: classic, very New Jersey events and typical outdoor summer fun.
The New Jersey portion of the weekend is highlighted by the big 25th annual NJ State Fair, starting this Friday at the Meadowlands Fairgrounds. You can expect lots of wild rides, live entertainment, carnival games and even the occasional freakshow exhibit at this year’s gigantic edition.
Also very New Jersey this weekend: an actual “real housewife of New Jersey” will be making an appearance at Exquisite Bride in Millburn on Sunday afternoon, signing autographs and taking pictures with many potential NJ wives and housewives to-be.
Summer is amply covered too this weekend, with the first-ever LGBT Pride Picnic in Maplewood’s Memorial Park this Saturday. There will also be a ton of music concerts, many of them outdoors and free, including Street Hassle in Millburn’s Taylor Park, South Orange’s Downtown After Sundown concert series on both Friday and Saturday evenings, and perennial local fave Tycoon Dog, playing at Turtle Back Zoo on Sunday.
And don’t forget our area’s own ongoing, annual summer tradition of the South Orange, Maplewood and Millburn Pond Tour -- now in its 7th year -- where participants are invited to view the lovely private ponds and gardens of our wonderful neighbors, opened to the public especially for the tour.
Here’s the rest of this fantastic weekend’s full list of activities. Have a great start to your summer!
- Cats OK Band returns to Johnny's on the Green: The Cats OK Band, made up mostly of area locals musicians, brings their soulful blend of classic rock, funk, and R&B back to Johnny's with an encore performance on the patio under the tent this coming Saturday. Open to All, Friday, 7:00pm to 11:00pm, Short Hills
- South Orange Downtown After Sundown Concert Series: The popular annual summer series of free, outdoor music concerts runs on Friday and Saturday evenings and can be found in two downtown South Orange locations -- Spiotta Park and the corner plaza at Sloan St. & South Orange Ave. Come out to enjoy wonderful music and grab some food, a coffee, ice cream, or dessert. Bring your blankets, your kids, your warm weather enthusiasm and sit back, relax and enjoy the sweet sounds of South Orange. Free, Friday and Saturday, 7:30pm to 10:00pm, South Orange
- 25th Annual New Jersey State Fair: New Jersey’s best value in family-friendly entertainment returns to the Meadowlands Fairgrounds, for its 25th Anniversary over 17 days full of action-packed fun for the entire family. The Fair will run daily from June 24 through July 10 featuring plenty of free new and returning entertainment, with dazzling performers, delicious food, thrilling rides, games, exhibits, shopping and bargain ticket nights. There are live shows throughout each day. This year’s free entertainment includes Batcopter Aerial Stunt Show, Racing Pigs, Hypnotist Steve Bayner, Festival of Magic, and a Petting Zoo. Open to All; Pricing Varies, June 24 to July 10, Check for Times, East Rutherford (Meadowlands Fairgrounds)
- Adult Health Clinic at Memorial Library: The Maplewood Memorial Library will once again be the host for a free Adult Health Clinic for local residents. Blood pressure screening, carotid bruit assessment, medication counseling, and health counseling will be provided by a Maplewood Health Department Public Health Nurse. To make an appointment call the Health Department. Free, Saturday, 10:15am to 12:00pm, Maplewood
- Book Discussion and Signing at Words: Author Julian Brash discusses his book, Bloomberg’s New York, this Saturday afternoon at Words bookstore in Maplewood. Also at Words, on Saturday morning, meet Daisy, Words’ new mascot and service dog. Free, Saturday, 11:00am (Meet Daisy) and 4:00pm (Book Signing), Maplewood
- Maplewood LGBT Pride Picnic: Join the festivities on Saturday afternoon in Memorial Park for the first ever Maplewood Pride picnic. Besides being a fun community celebration, including a bounce house, music, and face painting, you can also find out how to be part of bringing a complete PrideFest to Maplewood in 2012. Bring your own picnic, blanket, chairs, family, friends, kids and dogs, as well as your enthusiasm, ideas and energy. Donations will also be accepted. Free, Saturday, 2:00pm to 6:00pm, Maplewood
- SOMbike Family Bike Ride: tour the Valley Arts District in Orange: The South Orange Maplewood Bike Coalition (SOMbike) will be hosting a Family Ride to tour the Valley Arts District in Orange on Saturday, stopping at galleries and ending up at Hat City Kitchen. Meet them at Maplewood Ave and Baker Street to start the ride to Orange. Check their website, sombike.com, if in doubt about the weather on the day of. Free, Saturday, 4:00pm, Maplewood to Orange
- South Mountain Peace Action Film Series: Budrus: The award-winning documentary will be shown at the Maplewood Civic House on Saturday evening and portrays an actual peaceful, nonviolent campaign by Palestinians and Israelis that led to the re-routing of the Israeli separation barrier to save the olive trees of the West Bank town of Budrus. The screening will be introduced by Bradley Abelow, Board Chairman of Just Vision who will also help facilitate a discussion after the film about the organizational context of Just Vision's work which led it to make Budrus. Israeli-born Maplewood filmmaker Shlomi Ben Yair will also participate in the discussion, in which all opinions and points of view are welcome. Admission is free and light refreshments will be served. Those who plan to come are asked to RSVP first. The film is being shown as the third installment of South Mountain Peace Action's Israeli-Palestinian Peace Film Series. Free, Saturday, 7:30pm, Maplewood
- Live Music by Tycoon Dog at Turtle Back Zoo: Hear the music of local favorite Tycoon Dog performing live in the Turtle Back Zoo amphitheater this Sunday. Tycoon Dog infuses playful rock with melodic improvisation and a serious set of bone-digging grooves on their live-to-tape self-released CD Ruff Cuts. Free (with zoo admission), Sunday, 11:00am to 2:00pm, West Orange
- 7th Annual Maplewood/South Orange/Millburn Pond Tour: This year's tour will be held on Sunday afternoon and will feature many favorites from past years, as well as new ponds across all three towns. If you're just interested in seeing the incredible aquascapes that some of your neighbors have created, send your contact info to email@example.com for more info. Free, Sunday, 12:00pm to 7:00pm, South Orange, Maplewood, and Millburn
- Dina Manzo of Real Housewives of NJ at Exquisite Bride: The NJ Real Housewife will meet with local brides at Exquisite Bride in Millburn this Sunday, signing copies of the magazine and posing for pictures. Brides can also enjoy informal modeling of Exquisite Bride’s gorgeous gowns and light refreshments. Free, Sunday, 1:00pm to 4:00pm, Millburn
- Grieving the Loss of a Pet, A Seminar for Adults: The Bereavement Ministry at St. Rose of Lima Church in Short Hills is presenting a program to help adults cope with the loss of beloved animal companions. The meeting will be held on Sunday at the Dougherty Center at 61 Short Hills Avenue. Space is limited so register beforehand. Free, Sunday, 1:45pm to 3:00pm, Short Hills
- Street Hassle Free Concert at Taylor Park: The band Street Hassle will perform a free concert of classic rock music at Taylor Park in Millburn this weekend. Free, Sunday, 7:00pm, Millburn
Donald Pun lives in Maplewood and posts the event round-up column here each weekend. Previously, he was a regular contributor for the NY Times' Maplewood, South Orange, and Millburn Local blog section.