Updated for 2017!
Walt Disney released Pinocchio in the theater, Glen Miller brought music to life with “In the Mood,” Germany invaded Norway and the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened. So what do these things have in common with the New Jersey State Fair? They all took place over 75 years ago in 1940!
Yes, you heard correctly! The NJ State Fair has been entertaining families for over 75 years. The fair withstood the depression, WWII, natural disasters and more, but it always came back even better than the year before. For the first 36 years, the fair was held in Branchville, until moving to Augusta in 1976 where it remains today. With over 165 acres of land and 15 permanent buildings to explore, the NJ State Fair is an event you won’t want to miss!
Over the past 75 years, the NJ State Fair has introduced families to the worlds of agriculture, farming, animal science, horse shows and much more! The NJ State Fair also has a very big focus on community. In fact the fair is 100% supported by the community and various sponsors.
As a Sussex County resident, it gives me great pride to have this amazing fair in my county and my state. Fairgoers will learn what NJ and Sussex County have to offer adults, families and children. From horse shows to petting zoos to educational tents to even the circus, there is something for everyone at the fair!
As you know, at Mommy University, we love events and programs that offer teachable moments for families. We love when an event can be fun and exciting but also offer brain boosting adventures! That is exactly what the NJ State Fair provides. From August 4 – August 12, individuals of all ages can attend the fair and not only leave with a half-eaten bucket of popcorn and a giant stuffed animal, but a brain full of knowledge!
Educational Experiences at the NJ State Fair
Like all 4-H Fairs throughout NJ, the NJ State Fair provides families the opportunity to learn all about various livestock. Children will engage all their senses as they walk through the livestock barns and pavilions. They can see amazing animals of all sizes, smell the scent each one gives off, touch their fur or feathers and hear (and mimic) the sounds they make. It’s a true learning experience!
Each year, my boys get more and more excited about seeing all the different types of animals. They love seeing what animals won the blue ribbons as well as seeing animals they have never seen before. One of the coolest things we enjoyed as a family was watching the egg incubator where some lucky fairgoers can actually watch a chick hatch!
The NJ State Fair offers 4 open-sided livestock barns with livestock rotating throughout the fair. There is also a small animal building that everyone will enjoy. Here are some of the livestock animals you will enjoy seeing at the NJ State Fair:
RoNetco Supermarkets Farm Fun Building
One of our favorite places to visit during the fair (and a place we usually visit about 3 times during our stay) is the RoNetco Supermarkets Farm Fun Building. This area offers fun and educational interactive activities kids can enjoy for hours! From shucking corn to “food shopping” to decorating your own scarecrow, there are tons of brain boosting activities for kids. Each visitor also goes home with one piece of produce such as an apple or banana!
The RoNetco offers a wonderful multi-sensory learning experience for kids. Kids boost their gross motor skills on the pedal tractors and while running through the hay maze, enhance visual-spatial skills while “apple picking”and engage in creative thinking and pretend play while dressing up as sheep or creating their own scarecrow. Each year, my boys beg to go straight to the Farm Fun Building then spend at least an hour playing. We cannot wait to see what this year’s building will offer!
One of the main attractions of the NJ State Fair is the Sussex County Horse Show! Children and adults can enter into this amazing competition to test their skill and precision on this beautiful course. Families can also enjoy watching as the competitors ride their magnificent horses. One year, my boys and I sat on a bench in a beautiful garden near the ring and watched in awe as young children completed various jumps with ease. We talked about the determination and practice it takes to perform at that level. It was an amazing and memorable experience for all of us!
The Butterfly Tent
The Butterfly Tent at the NJ State Fair provides families a firsthand look at the world of butterflies. It is also a wonderful introduction to nature and science. While walking through the tent, families can see and learn about various butterflies as well as understand how they behave in their environment. It’s a truly unique learning experience and one you won’t want to miss!
Performing Arts Tent
The Performing Arts Tent offers entertainment each day of the fair. Families can enjoy a wide variety of musical acts which teach children an appreciation of all types of music from country to bluegrass to rock. One of our favorite events in the Performing Arts Tent is Green Day which takes place on August 7 from 10am-4pm. During this event, families can learn about nature and our environment while engaging in hands-on learning fun. When we experienced this event in the past, each guest received a Green Day Passport which was stamped by each table in the tent. It really got my kids exciting about learning all about local animals, caring for the environment and even growing plants.
Other events taking place this year include a Tribute to the Troops on August 5, Country/Americana Day on August 6 Children’s Day on August 8 from 10am-2pm and Senior Day on August 10. Guests can also enjoy local bands, dance performances and more throughout the week. It’s a wonderful way to introduce kids to the world of performing arts and music!
This list is certainly not exhaustive as there are endless brain boosting experiences at the NJ State Fair! We cannot wait to see what the fair will offer this year along with exploring our favorite activities from year’s past! So head over and explore The NJ State Fair with us!
The NJ State Fair opens August 4 and ends on August 13. Tickets cost $14/adult, $10/senior, $6/children ages 6-12 and FREE for children ages 5 and under. Here are some ways to save on tickets:
- Purchase tickets online ($9/adult, $6/child): Must be purchased by August 4!
- Sussex County residents get a discount every day ($9/adult, $6/child)
- Veterans are always FREE (with I.D.).
- DOLLAR DAY – August 4: Admission is only $1 for all ages. Some food, beverages and ride tickets will also be $1!
- CHILDREN’S DAY – August 8: $5/child ages 6-12
- SENIOR DAY – August 10: $4/senior ages 60+
- LAST DAY BLAST – August 13: $8/adults, children and seniors are FREE
For more information including a schedule of events, please visit the fair website!