Annual State Fair Meadowlands promises fun for whole family

Rides, exhibits, car show, fireworks part of 18-day event

With tigers, magic, fireworks and food favorites from around the world on hand, who can resist the lure of New Jersey’s largest, annual familyfriendly event set for Giants Stadium Fairgrounds at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford.

Eighteen days of action-packed fun for the entire family will start June 25 and run through July 12, featuring plenty of free entertainment with popular performers, as well as a wide array of food, thrilling rides, games, exhibits, shopping and bargain ticket nights.

Fairgoers can kick off the summer with plenty of free entertainment and more than 150 rides and attractions for all ages. This year’s fair features free nightly entertainment, including The Marcan Tiger Show, Master Hypnotist Steve Bayner, Festival of Magic, Wildlife Gallery and World of Wonder — Palace of Illusion. Strolling musicians and costumed characters will also provide entertainment throughout the fairgrounds.

More than 50 food vendors will offer everything from cheese steaks; barbecue; pizza; Greek, Asian and Mexican delicacies; and salads to ice cream; funnel cake; and of course cotton candy. Fair visitors can work off some calories in the shopping zone, which will feature CDs, DVDs, jewelry, clocks, clothing, arts and crafts, candles and more.

On Monday, July 6, young and old alike can get a taste of Disney, with an appearance by the Little Mermaid’s Prince Eric, played by actor-singer Drew Seeley. Fairgoers will also be able to see bicycle trick riders, who will be appearing July 2-6. And car lovers can check out the Rix Magazine car show on Sunday, July 12.

Fireworks displays are scheduled for July 3 and July 4, and the opening Dollar Night is Thursday, June 25, where everything from parking to admission, rides and select food items will cost a dollar each. Sunday, June 28, is Kidz 4 Free Sunday, when all kids 12 and under are admitted free. Thursday, July 2 is BOGO Night, where everything from admission, games and unlimited ride hand stamps is buy one, get one half price. Look for the BOGO sign at participating food vendors. Thursday, July 9, is Carload Night, where everyone who fits in a car (up to eight people) can enter and ride unlimited rides for one price of $69, and parking is free.

On Monday, June 29 (rain date June 30), State Fair is offering free admission to the currently unemployed and up to four of their immediate family members. Patrons with proof of unemployment such as an unemployment check stub will enter for free and may enjoy all the free entertainment without spending another penny. If they choose, they may take advantage of discounted unlimited ride hand stamps. For more bargains and promotion days, visit

In addition, State Fair Meadowlands will be calling all aspiring comedians, dancers, singers and other performers to show their stuff in a talent spotlight contest. Contestants will submit entries to the fair’s YouTube channel via its website. Top finalists will have an opportunity to showcase their talent at State Fair Meadowlands and win prizes.

Fair hours are as follows: Monday through Thursday, 6 p.m. to midnight; Fridays from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Sundays from 2 p.m. to midnight. Special hours on July 3 and 4 are from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. and July 6 from 2 p.m. to midnight. On June 25, opening night, gates open 5 p.m., and close at 1 a.m.

Advance tickets for State Fair Meadowlands are on sale now through June 24 and can be bought online at or by calling 973-450-1073. Special group packages are also available.

Weekday prices are: Monday-Thursday, adults, $7; children 12 and under, $5. Prices for weekends and holidays (Friday-Sunday and July 3 and 4): adults, $9, children 12 and under $6. Children under 34 inches admitted free any day.