At Best of NJ, we’re all about showcasing the best events and activities taking place in the Garden State year-round. With that in mind, we do our best to venture out to as many festivals, conventions and other themed venues as possible. Afterwards, we always publish recap coverage and accompanying photo documentaries so that our fans can relive The Best of these great moments along with us.

The Best NJ Event Recaps


Atlantic City Air Show

Spectators “oohed” and “ahhed” as aircrafts performed dazzling aerobatic stunts over the beach at the 15th Annual Atlantic City Air Show on Wednesday, August 23. Observers on the boardwalk and the beach, as well as boaters anchored just off the coast, looked on as World War II-era planes trailing white smoke crisscrossed with one another, and as Army helicopters performed fast rope demonstrations…

2017 QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning

The idea of traveling without touching the ground is mystical and exciting, and its execution is enthralling. Great minds throughout time, including that of Leonardo da Vinci, have toyed with the concept of flight, but airplanes, jets and rockets are more of a modern science. But what about balloons which glide through the troposphere with heat as their main power source…

The Best of the Red Bull Surf + Rescue Race

Red Bull Surf + Rescue Race

Energized and ready to compete in high intensity events, professional lifeguards from beach patrols across the East Coast gathered at the shore in Atlantic City for the third annual Red Bull Surf + Rescue Race on Tuesday evening. The fast-paced battle between beach patrols challenged lifeguards from New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia to compete at their highest level of athleticism…

The Best of Just Jersey Food Truck Festival

Just Jersey Food Truck & Music Festival

The Garden State is known for a myriad of attributes. By housing the world’s best diners, possessing an entire coast of diverse beaches and encompassing a variety of different terrains within less than 9,000 square-miles, there is much to see, do, eat and be proud of in our home state. When it comes to celebrating the New Jersey’s food and music, nobody does it like the Just Jersey Food Truck & Music Festival…

The Best of House of Booze Rock Revival

The House of Booze Rock Revival Show

Rock and roll music has a long history of innovators taking risks. While this history is well-known and beloved by fans, a new venue in South Jersey is looking to promote today’s rock music. With plenty of space for wild, unpredictable performances, the House of Booze acted as a new home for rock music in Somers Point with its first Rock Revival Show Friday night; the first of many shows at the new venue on Bay Avenue…

The Best of the Miss New Jersey Parade

Miss New Jersey Parade

Out of the television screen and onto the Ocean City Boardwalk, the contestants of the 2017 Miss New Jersey Pageant paid tribute to their favorite shows, sitcoms and series during the annual Miss New Jersey parade this past Wednesday evening. Hundreds of onlookers stood along both sides of the boardwalk to get a glimpse of the 28 contestants each dressed in original costumes and riding by in their decorated cars…

The Best of Vetnor City's Porchfest

Ventnor City’s Porchfest

Piano player Don Ellsworth faced an interesting conundrum leading up to Ventnor City’s first-ever PorchFest: He doesn’t have a porch. But luckily his next door neighbor and PorchFest event coordinator, Michael Einwechter, does. Einwechter, 37, was one of 40 Ventnor residents who opened up their porches, lawns and driveways to host an afternoon of music spanning across the city…

The Best of the Jersey City Craft Brew Fest

Jersey City Craft Brew Fest

There’s a cure for the summertime blues — summertime beers! And that’s exactly the brand of medicine I tried out at this year’s Jersey City Craft Brew Fest. The massive event took place on Saturday, June 3 at the Harborview Plaza Atrium, which offers stunning views of Lower Manhattan. The festival offers two sessions, one running from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm and the other from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm…

The Best of the Beer BBQ & Bacon Showdown

Morristown Beer, BBQ & Bacon Showdown

The warm weather has finally arrived. Which means it’s time to remove those grill covers and get barbecuin’. It just so happens that one of the first great food events of spring – the Beer, BBQ & Bacon Showdown in Morristown – took place during National Barbecue Month, kicking off the glorious season in Central New Jersey. On May 20, Lewis Morris Park was home to the 3rd Annual Beer, BBQ & Bacon Showdown.

Avalon Wine & Spirits Festival

Ready to enjoy an evening of sophisticated fun, attendees at the Avalon Wine & Spirits Festival filled their glasses with fine beverages and their plates with local delicacies this past Friday night. The event brought more than 200 high-end wine and spirits to the Avalon Community Hall. At the same time, restaurants from the area provided delicious hors d’oeuvres for festival-goers to enjoy…

Dorset Avenue Street Fair

As the evening sky reflected in the bay below the Dorset Avenue Bridge, dozens of visitors and locals strolled along the Ventnor City streets during the Dorset Avenue Street Fair this past Wednesday night. Live music, local merchants, crafters and artists greeted onlookers as they walked between the bridge and Balfour Avenue. In just three blocks, the street fair included a total of 29 vendors, 12 musicians and 22 merchants…

Montclair Film Festival

The Montclair Film Festival is an annual event that has been going on since 2012. The 2017 festival, which ran from April 28 – May 7, featured dozens of new films (plus a restored classic) and continued the non-profit 501(c)(3) organization’s mission of connecting “global filmmakers with audiences in a diverse, culturally vibrant community by presenting films and year-round programs” promoting the power of visual storytelling…

Brigantine Art Walk Spring Fest

From enormous paintings of breaking waves to tiny drawings of lifeguard boats, creativity filled local restaurant and bar, The Cove, on Sunday afternoon for the Brigantine Art Walk Spring Fest. It’s not everyday that you get to talk to the artist behind the masterpiece, but Brigantine Art Walk, a group dedicated to giving local artists exposure, allowed art lovers the chance to interact with other creative minds in their community…

The Best of Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival

The Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival

With beer glasses in hand and pretzel necklaces in place, hundreds of beer enthusiasts confidently entered the first session of the 2017 Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival on March 31. Ready to start tasting beers and ultimately embracing the inevitable hangover, festival-goers strolled past the large sand sculpture commemorating the event and began their search for their new favorite beer…

Chefs Boot Camp with Kwame Williams

Every year, the James Beard Foundation pulls together a slew of important chefs to cook — and to raise awareness of an important topic. The Foundation’s Chefs Boot Camp focuses on bringing together civically and politically minded chefs to strategize on creating an effective and sustainable food system. It is these chefs who then go back into their kitchen and implement the change that ultimately benefits their community…

PAX East 2017 (Cosplay Edition)

Despite the fact that PAX officially designates itself as “not a cosplay heavy event,” the increasingly popular trend of costume role-playing was definitely on display throughout the entire weekend. Both fans and experienced costumers could be seen wearing outfits matching those of their favorite characters from video games, movies, television and comic books, ranging from super silly to extraordinarily professional…

The Best of: PAX East 2017

The East Coast version of the Penny Arcade Expo — aka PAX East — takes place annually at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. This year, despite the light snow and brutal 10-degree weather, fans of video games and other digital forms of content creation flocked to BCEC to check out everything the expo had to offer. While exclusive merchandise and free swag are a big part of PAX, the main draw is of course, the games…

The Best of: Big Brew Beer Festival in Morristown

While Hoboken was set upon by the Irish and fake-Irish this past Saturday for their annual LepreCon, those looking to celebrate beer without wearing green or binge drinking were at the Morristown Armory for the Big Brew Beer Festival. Best of NJ attended the first of two sessions, and while the doors opened at noon, a sizable group had already lined up outside twenty minutes beforehand, anxious to get inside…

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The Best of: General Washington’s 1776 Retreat to Victory Reenactment

George Santayana, 20th century American thinker, wrote it best in The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense, when he said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” With that notion in mind, the historians of Fort Lee took to the streets and marched a few blocks from the Fort Lee Historic Park to Monument Park right off Main Street to reenact General Washington’s 1776 Retreat to Victory…

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The Best of: A Night of Wigs and Wishes

With candles lit and tearful faces, A Night of Wigs and Wishes remembered those who lost their lives over the last year to cancer. The October event, held at Lucien’s Manor in Berlin Township, raised thousands of dollars to help grant wishes to cancer-stricken children and provide wigs to women going through chemotherapy. The evening, powered by the Friends Are By Your Side charity, kicked off with a cocktail hour and auction…

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The Best of: Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival

There was no shortage of creativity at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival 30th anniversary this past weekend. The four-day event dominated Newark’s Downtown Arts District where writers, poets and other intellectuals gathered to hear some of their favorite poets both recite their works and discuss the craft. The festival, which has been around since 1986, found its home at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center…

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The Best of: Bark for Babies

October is a month for non-stop fun. It’s thirty-one days of festive pumpkin-picking, apple cider donuts and fall foliage that ramps up to that much-anticipated costumed night of revelry and candy, Halloween. But October is a somber month for many others, who recognize it as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. In that spirit, the March of Dimes strives to create events and raise awareness about protecting newborns

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The Best of: New York Comic Con 2016

The three C’s of every comic convention are comics, cosplay and comradery. New York Comic Con (NYCC) accounted for all of them this year, as the event welcomed thousands of comic book, film, television and art fans to the Jacob Javits Center for four long days of fun. Numerous popular artists, writers and celebrities joined in on the convention as well, either manning their stands or speaking at panels during the weekend…

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The Best of: Ales ‘N Tails Oktoberfest

October in West Orange kicked off with a bang as Turtle Back Zoo hosted the Ales ‘N Tails Oktoberfest, where guests were able to wander around the zoo while sampling top beers and quality German food. The park kept its doors open late on October 1 as patrons piled in for the spectacular event. At the door, attendees were given their own souvenir sampling glass and a bottle koozie. Inside, national and local beer vendors set up tents…

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The Best of: Hoboken Oysterfest

What better way to celebrate the end of summer than with a party? Hoboken did just that with Oysterfest on September 17. For one full day, Pier A was dedicated entirely to seafood and great music. All was set to go off without a hitch, but the seaside bombing incidents earlier in the morning had officials on high alert. The lines for check-in were long, with the crowd of festival-goers spilling out onto the pier entrance…

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The Best of: The Solexchange Sneaker Show

At exactly Noon on August 27, the doors of the Meadowlands Exposition Center opened to welcome sneaker fanatics to the Solexchange Sneaker Show. For two days, Secaucus was bouncing to the beats of hip hop and the countless fans, collectors and wearers of new and rare sneakers. The 2,000-square-foot trading floor hosted over 300 vendors selling various items from shoes and apparel to accessories and art…

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The Best of: Monsters & Robots Con

Halloween came to New Jersey early as Somerset’s Garden State Convention Center hosted the Monsters & Robots Con, presented by Crucial Entertainment. Fans of both popular and not-so-popular cult classics traveled out to enjoy non-stop action featuring a variety of celebrity guests, specialty vendors and tons of spooky memorabilia. Exhibitors traveled from across the country to showcase their most creative works…

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The Best of: ToyConNJ

Kids and collectors alike were delighted to see ToyConNJ return to the Garden State – for the fifth time – for two full days of fun. The event welcomed countless fans of both new and vintage toys and old school collectibles. Adults could revisit their youth while browsing through the immense collections brought by vendors and exhibitors from all over the country. From vintage baseball cards to comics, ToyCon had it all

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The Best of: Newark Comic Con

So far this year, New Jersey has fully embraced its nerdy side; from the Garden State Comic Fest at the William G. Mennen Sports Arena to the Heroes & Villains Fan Fest at the Meadowlands Exposition Center, superhero fans have had an action-packed year. Most recently, Newark Comic Con was held for one day only at Brick City’s Waterfront Place behind Bear Stadium, much to the delight of countless die-hard comic fans…

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The Best of: Jersey City’s La Festa Italiana

Like many kids who grew up in the Village, Nick Grillo’s summers were marked by the red, white and green arches that appeared in the streets surrounding Holy Rosary Church. “They would come up in July, and we knew that the festival was just one month away,” he told Best of NJ. “And then once they come down, I was sad because I knew going back to school was around the corner and I had to wait another year for the summer feast…”

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The Best of: The Highlands Clam Fest

Nothing brings people together like mouth-watering food and invigorating music that brings you to your feet. The Highlands 22nd Annual Clam Fest celebrated just that. The festival is a four-day family friendly event featuring the freshest seafood, live entertainment, kiddie rides, games, contests and some amazing vendors. People came from all over New Jersey to enjoy the long weekend outside with friends and family…

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The Best of: The Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Festival

It took a special event to lure people out of their air conditioned homes on July 23, as a heat wave sent Asbury Park temperatures skyrocketing to a near-record 97°. But the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Festival did just that, as fans of awe-inspiring music braved the sweltering temps in Bradley Park to enjoy the day. This family-friendly event offered free admission and a day devoted to great music…

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The Best of: Jersey Shore Comic Book Show

Toms River’s Jersey Shore Comic Book Show bills itself as the “biggest little con on the East Coast,” offering comic book and art fans tons of cool comics and collectibles biannually. This summer’s event took over the Toms River Elk Lodge for an entire day of fun on Saturday, July 16. The event featured comic book and art vendors, as well as professional comic book writers and artists that fans could meet…

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The Best of: Garden State Comic Fest

This year’s Garden State Comic Fest kicked off with a bang, filling up two auditoriums with tons of comics, books, art, games and memorabilia. The 2016 edition dominated the William G. Mennen Sports Arena during it’s two-day run. Cosplayers and comic fanatics alike lined up outside the arena to get a head-start on the first day of festivities. The arena encompassed both a “heroes” and “villains” auditorium…

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The Best of: Heroes & Villains Fan Fest 2016

The Heroes & Villains Fan Fest traveled to the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus for the second time this year, bringing countless goodies and special guests for two days of fun. Due to January’s Fan Fest being partially ruined by “Snowmageddon 2016,” the event returned to the Garden State over the weekend.The exposition center was dominated by countless fans of hit television series…

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The Best of: RTX 2016 – Cosplay Edition!

The Rooster Teeth Expo was filled with good times and great people (for a complete event recap of everything that happened at the Austin Convention Center over 4th of July weekend, click here). One of the best parts of attending a video game, comic book or entertainment expo is the chance to see all of the amazing cosplay people put together. The crown jewel event for cosplayers is the Cosplay Contest itself…

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The Best of: SGC 2016 (ScrewAttack Gaming Convention)

The ScrewAttack name is familiar to most gamers who have actively been a part of internet culture since 2006. Many fans were first introduced to the brand when they debuted their original Top 10 lists on a site called GameTrailers (which only recently shut down). Since then, ScrewAttack has emerged as a major force in the industry, hosting a variety of original and third-party partner content on their site

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The Best of: RTX 2016 (Rooster Teeth Expo)

Entertainment conventions happen more frequently now that everything from video games to YouTube has become a part of mainstream pop culture. This fusion of content variety is perhaps best represented at the Rooster Teeth Expo (RTX), which took place in Austin, Texas. The first RTX took place in 2011, so this year marked the expo’s sixth outing; a record-setting 60,000 attendees were present…

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The Best of: Reef-A-Palooza

During the last weekend in June, for the second year in a row, the New York Reef-A-Palooza took over the Secaucus-based Meadowlands Exposition Center for two days of underwater fun. Reef-A-Palooza is America’s largest saltwater aquarium show. The extensive event was born to provide aquarium hobbyists the opportunity to meet, teach and learn from fellow aquarium hobbyists, experts and professionals…

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The Best of: Hoboken Arts and Music Festival

On Sunday, June 12, Hoboken welcomed countless residents of the Tri-state area to celebrate music and the arts. The city’s 22nd Arts & Music Festival was a massive event, allowing patrons to travel down Washington Street and enjoy all of the art, food, games, rides and, of course, entertaining live performances. Despite blustery winds, each of the 300+ artists manned their stands for the benefit of attendees…

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The Best of: The Once Upon a Time Convention

To kick off the first weekend in June, Creation Entertainment brought the highly anticipated Once Upon a Time Convention to the Garden State. Countless fans of the hit television series traveled out to the Marriott Hanover in Whippany on June 4-5 for a wonderful event. Once Upon a Time is an American fairy tale drama series. The show’s very first convention was held in 2015…

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The Best of: The JerseyFest Food Truck Mash-Up

This past Saturday was a day to remember, as it was New Jersey versus Philly in an epic food truck event. The Meadowlands Racetrack of East Rutherford hosted the JerseyFest Food Truck Mash-Up on June 4, as countless people crammed into the racetrack’s backyard and along East Apron. The Mash-Up featured a wide range of menu items, from mouthwatering barbecue and fresh seafood to sweet treats…

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The Best of: Mill Hill Park’s Pork Roll Festival

It’s an age-old question: Pork Roll or Taylor Ham? This past weekend, Mill Hill Park’s Pork Roll Festival had the answer. The one-day-only event provided the citizens of New Jersey with countless pork roll-based dishes, along with pork roll-themed clothing, accessories, and other household items. Families, couples and groups of friends wandered around the park from food truck to food truck…

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The Best of: The Hillsborough Memorial Day Parade

Many Americans spend Memorial Day weekend relaxing and barbecuing with friends and family, but we cannot forget the everlasting sacrifices of the brave men and women who gave their lives for our country. To celebrate, the United States has annual traditions to honor their immeasurable contributions.One such community, in Somerset County, holds a magnificent Memorial Day Parade every year…

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The Best of: The Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival

Under a canopy of blue skies, heavenly aromas filled the air at Monmouth Park Racetrack as the fifth annual Jersey Shore Food Truck festival kicked off its three-day run on Saturday. The crowds and offerings have grown each year, with more than 50 purveyors on hand to serve up something to please every palate. No matter what kind of cuisine you crave, you’ll find it at the Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival…

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The Best of: Hoboken Irish Festival

On May 21, Frank Sinatra Park donned the colors of green, white and orange for an entire day of celebration of Irish culture. The Hoboken Irish Festival brought masses of patrons to the city throughout the all-day event. Festival-goers meandered through the streets, browsing through various stands. The festival featured a number of vendors who offered Irish-themed food, accessories and much, much more…

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The Best of: PAX East 2016 — Part 3: Cosplay

The final installment in Best of NJ‘s PAX East recap trilogy has arrived. (In case you missed the first two parts, you can check them out here and here.) This time around — as the title suggests — we’re selecting our picks for the best cosplays at this year’s Penny Arcade Expo. What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of “cosplay”? Well, now’s as good a time as any to learn all about it, wouldn’t you say?…

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The Best of: PAX East 2016 — Part 2: Booths

Part 2 of our PAX East 2016 coverage focuses on highlighting the best booths on the show floor. Since the idea of showcasing booths may seem a bit confusing at first, allow me to explain. This article is dedicated to highlighting the vendors who put together really exciting or entertaining booths that could keep PAX attendees entertained just by hanging around, without the need to play a demo or buy merch…

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The Best of: PAX East 2016 — Part 1: Games

The Penny Arcade Expo (aka PAX) is a gaming convention that started in 2004, and has since grown to become one of the most popular conventions in the industry. What started as a single annual event has turned into an international series of expos. Presently, there are multiple PAX conventions in America, but PAX East has quickly become the most popular by a wide margin, with over 70k attendees annually…

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The Best of: Hoboken’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Hoboken’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration takes place throughout the city on the first Saturday of March every year. The annual event invites people from all over the country to come experience Hoboken’s extensive bar scene, as well as their unparalleled vigor. Both undergrads and adults with full-time jobs lined up bright and early to get into their favorite bars and eateries, a trend which continued through the night…


  • Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Carly Weaver / Best of NJ
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