2013-06-23 Daily News


New York area's top summer fairs and festivals

From the farm to the renaissance, it's all nearby

BY TANISIA MORRIS  NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Published: Sunday, June 23, 2013, 12:01 AM Updated: Sunday, June 23, 2013, 12:01 AM

The sprawling State Fair at the Meadowlands, N.J., is always a great time.

If you’re looking to trade in New York’s towering skyscrapers for some lush farmlands this summer, you don’t have to look further than New York State and its bucolic neighbors. Head up the Hudson for seasonal fairs and festivals overflowing with funnel cake and blueberry pie. But that’s just half the reason to grab your sunglasses and hit the road: Live concerts, carnival rides and drag races round out the rural perks.


June 21-July 7

This East Rutherford fair covers more than 35 acres with family entertainment. Carnival favorites like cotton candy, curly fries and corn dogs are a hit with even snooty foodies. Aside from thrilling amusement park rides like the original Batcopter from the 1966 series and games like the Duck Pond, Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifier, don’t miss hypnotist Steve Bayner, fireworks, plus a gorilla and tiger show are sure to keep you thoroughly entertained. 102 New Jersey 120, East Rutherford, N.J. Tickets are $9 for adults and children 13 and up; young children and seniors are $7. See njfair.com.


July 19-20

Friends of the Farmer flock to the Hudson Valley.

Savor the best food and music that Hudson Valley has to offer with this two-day fest. Food lovers can chow down with local farmers, chefs, brewers and restaurateurs. Chef Zakary Pelaccio hosts the farmer benefit dinner “Hootenanny!” on the first day, and musicians Lukas Nelson & P.O.T.R. provide live tunes to whet appetites at the Copake festival. Based on Golf Course Road in Copake Lake; take the Taconic Parkway. Tickets for the dinner are $150; festival tickets are $20. See friendsofthefarmer.com.


July 26-28

The 31st annual hot air balloon extravaganza takes you to new heights. See more than 100 striking balloons of all shapes and sizes, from a 105-foot-tall Elvis to an 80-foot inverted flying elephant, which ascend near Solberg Airport. You can even race alongside them as part of the Hunterdon Healthcare fundraiser Running with the Bulloons 5K. The year’s three-day festival also includes live performances from REO Speedwagon, country superstars Big & Rich, and teen sensations R5 featuring Disney's Ross Lynch. 39 Thor Solberg Rd., Whitehouse Station, N.J. Tickets are $30, or $15 for kids 4-12; free for kids 3 and under. See balloonfestival.com.


New Jersey's Festival of Ballooning brings amazing sights all day long.


Where else can you cheer on your favorite piglet in a race and watch the four-legged K-9s in Flight zoom ahead in their famous catch and fetch frisbee dog act? Just beyond Lafayette, N.J. on Route 206, demolition derbies, monster truck rides, Zumba sessions, horse competition and eating contests (from chili to cheescake) also await you. 37 Plains Rd., Augusta, N.J. Tickets are $12; Free for children under 6. See newjerseystatefair.org.


Aug.3 -Sept.22

Take a trip back to Medieval Times as costumed actors and craftspeople transform Tuxedo Park's Sterling Forest into a medieval village à la Elizabethan England. The quaint festival is easily accessible by bus via the Port Authority. Guests enjoy games, rides, crafts, music and food of the 16th century. 600 Route 17A, Tuxedo Park, N.Y. 10987. Tickets are $22; $11 for children ages 5-12; free for children 4 and under. See renfair.com/ny.

The Renaissance Fair can put anyone in a fighting mood.


Aug. 10

Blueberry lovers can indulge in scrumptious pies, pancakes, and homemade jams made from this super fruit at the Shawangunk Mountain Blueberry Festival on Canal Street & Liberty Square in the town of Ellenville, N.Y. Peformances from Carl Richards Band, Mailbox 06, Bob Lusk and Marc Fried round out the festival’s activities, along with face painting, a health fair, a pie-baking contest, plus crafts and merchandise from more than 175 vendors. Free. Visit www.ewcoc.com.



New York's state fair brings out the smiles.

Feast on delicious backyard BBQ or listen to the bootstomping sounds of country music stars Chris Janson, Phil Vassar and Samatha Landrum at New Paltz’s annual cookout. Grillmasters like Big Moe’s M&M Ribs and Hickory Barbeque head up this annual barbecue food event with dozens of other merchants dishing out fried pickles, apple cider donuts, kettle corn and more. Held at the Ulster County Fairgrounds on Libertyville Road, the festival is accessible via MetroNorth and the NYS Thruway. 249 Libertyville Rd., New Paltz, N.Y. Tickets are $5; children under 12 are free. Concerts tickets are $20. Visit hudsonvalleyribfest.org.


Aug. 22-Sept.2

Last but not least, Syracuse’s 12-day festival is action-packed with America’s only remaining railroad carnival, James E. Stratus Shows and the Walker Brothers Circus. But there’s more: Enjoy livestock competitions, historic train exhibitions, butterfly gardens, wood carving shows, and yummy delights like deep fried macaroni. Held at the Empire Expo Center, the fair is accessible from the New York State Thruway. 581 State Fair Blvd., Syracuse, N.Y. Tickets are $ 10; free for children 12 and under with special days for seniors and students. See nysfair.org.

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