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Festivals and family events in New Jersey

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Celebrate good times

When it comes to festivals, New Jersey has plenty to celebrate. From seafood to canals, kites to hot air balloons, there's no shortage of reasons to gather the family for a good time. Here are some popular festivals and events you won't want to miss.

May: Red Bank International Flavour Festival

Bring the whole family to sample international cuisine and music at the Red Bank International Flavour Festival. Twenty-five local restaurants will sample international dishes from their menus, and adults can try a variety of international wine and beer. Enjoy multiple stages with live music including reggae, salsa, Irish music, jazz, blues and rock and roll.

Location: Red Bank, New Jersey

Website: www.onlyoneredbank.com

May: Wildwoods International Kite Festival

Bring a blanket to this free Memorial Day weekend event, because you'll want to lie back and enjoy the colorful ballet taking place in the sky above. Professionals and hobbyists convene to fly kites of all shapes, sizes and colors during this weekend celebration. Expand your kite knowledge with the festival's kite exhibits and workshops. Stay up late and enjoy illuminated night flights and live music.

Location: On the beach behind the Wildwoods Convention Center, Wildwood, New Jersey

Website: http://www.wildwoodsnj.com

June: Baymen's Seafood & Music Festival

Come hungry to this annual family festival, and feast on the best fresh clams, crabs, scallops and shrimp available anywhere in New Jersey. Spend the day enjoying live music, shopping the craft fair and taking a boat ride. Commercial fishermen and boat builders will share information about their trades. You can even take a class and learn how to shuck clams like a pro.

Location: Tuckerton, New Jersey

Website: http://showcase.njn.net

June: The Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning

It's a bird... it's a plane... No, it's Horton Hears a Who! Horton, Darth Vader, a giant cake and T-Rex are a few of the special shaped balloons you'll see at this hot air balloon and music festival — one of the largest of its kind in North America. Two times each day, up to 125 balloons will ascend skyward, creating a visual spectacle not to be missed. Families will enjoy live music, amusements, crafts and plenty of food choices. When the sun sets, fireworks and glowing balloons will light the night.

Location: Whitehouse Station, New Jersey

Website: http://www.balloonfestival.com/

August: New Jersey State Fair

The New Jersey State Fair has everything you expect from a top-notch state fair and more. Celebrate the end of summer whirling around the ferris wheel, winning a jumbo stuffed animal on the midway and checking out the prize-winning pigs. Go ahead and indulge in the funnel cake, corn dogs and other goodies the fair has to offer.

Location: Sussex County Fairgrounds, Augusta, New Jersey

Website: http://www.newjerseystatefair.org/

August: Canal Day Festival

Celebrate the Morris Canal at this free family event. Spend the afternoon browsing the craft show, munching delicious food, taking a free boat ride down the canal or trying your hand at kayak paddling. Enjoy live bands and learn more about the Morris Canal with educational talks and canal tours provided by the Canal Society of New Jersey. End the day with a bang at the 7 p.m. fireworks display.

Location: Hugh Force Canal Park, Wharton, New Jersey

Website: http://www.canalday.org

September: Festival of the Sea

The Festival of the Sea has been delighting New Jersey families for 35 years. You won't want to miss this popular family event featuring a street fair, mouthwatering seafood served by local restaurants and tons of activities for the kids. Pony rides, arts and crafts, live entertainment and a fireworks show are a few reasons to head to Point Pleasant Beach for this annual festival.

Location: Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey

Website: http://www.pointpleasantbeach.com/seafoodfestival.htm

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