County fair kicks off Monday in East Brunswick

Elvis tribute, circus, pig racing among this year’s attractions

Nearly 60,000 people had some fun in the sun at last year’s Middlesex County Fair, and organizers are hoping to see even more revelers this year.

“That was a great year,” said Kirk Bonamici, public relations director for the county fair association. “We had fantastic weather. It was the biggest crowd we’ve ever had, and the best fair yet.”

The Middlesex County Fair begins its 69th run Monday evening and continues through Aug. 12 at the county fairgrounds on Cranbury Road in East Brunswick. Its schedule is loaded with activities like pig racing, 4H shows and musical entertainment. There’s plenty of new daily features, like Barnyard Express, a traveling educational farm center that puts on shows using real farm animals; and lots of returning favorites, such as the Star Family Circus.

Then there’s the “Want to be a Farmer” attraction. As Bonamici describes it, “There will be a wooden cow for kids to test their milking skills, eggs to be gathered, peddle-tractors to ride through a maze, scarecrows to dress and a puppet show.” The program is sponsored by Shop-Rite and the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture.

Nighttime entertainment will include an appearance by the Secret Agents Band on Tuesday, The Amish Outlaws on Wednesday, an Elvis tribute on Aug. 9, karaoke on Aug. 10, and country band After the Reign on Aug. 11.

For a full schedule of events, visit the fair’s Web site at The site includes a separate schedule of the numerous 4H events planned for each day, and Bonamici has also set up a blog that he will be updating daily during the fair. Visitors to the Web site can also enter a variety of contests.

While fair admission is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors age 65 and up, and $1 for kids age 3 to 12, anyone can get in for free by donating blood. This is the first year in which the fair will run a blood drive every day.

“The hospitals are so desperate for blood right now, and the fair association wants to whatever it can to help,” Bonamici said.

In addition to getting free admission, blood donors will be eligible to win daily giveaways such as tickets to Six Flags Great Adventure and professional sports events.

Another ongoing event is the Charity Challenge, which allows people an easy opportunity to donate to local charities who set up displays along the main fair concourse. The charity that raises the most cash during the week will receive an additional $500.

Fair hours are 5 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call (732) 257-8858 or go to

– Brian Donahue