10 Festivals to Visit Outside the City This Summer

This summer, the region offers ice-cream-eating contests, rides on hot-air balloons shaped like Darth Vader, and impressive air shows you can ogle from the beach.

Photo by littlemoresunshine/Flickr

You  may see something like this at the Balloon Festival in Readington, New Jersey. | Photo by littlemoresunshine/Flickr

Summer is finally, officially upon us. Because the city can get a bit stifling over these warmest of months, we’ve put together a list of adventures worth doing outside of town, where you’ll find more trees and shores than sun-attracting concrete. Some are kind of unusual, many are kid-friendly and all are wildly entertaining.

Old Fashioned Ice Cream Festival
Here’s a festival dedicated entirely to those who cannot stop screaming for ice cream, which is pretty much all of us, right? Enjoy live music and fireworks all while licking up decadent chilled confections from some of the region’s top vendors. If your brain can handle the imminent freeze, you can even partake in an ice-cream-eating competition. Saturday and Sunday, June 27th and 28th, 10 am, $5, 4651 Washington Street Extension, Wilmington, Delaware.

Wild Rose Renaissance Faire
It may be the closest to Westeros you’ll ever get. For one final weekend the nobel ladies and sirs of the Tri-State area will rejoice in a realm fit for a king. Come to a land where there are stories to be told, fake sword fights to be won, vendors to peruse and a lot of food to be ingested. Camping grounds are available to anyone who wishes to endure the whole weekend in medieval times. Saturday and Sunday, June 27th and June 28th, 11 am, $5 for one day,$10 for weekend passes, 20354 Route 957, Columbus.

Arts and Crafts Festival
Partake in a weekend-long function that has been known to draw crowds of over 100,000 art enthusiasts. Promenade along Haddonfield’s main streets to peruse a stretch of nearly 250 vendors showcasing practically every medium of art you could possibly imagine. Arts and crafts will be exhibited in glass, metal, ceramics, jewelry, paintings, photography, woodworking and wearable art. Saturday, July 11th, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, July 12th, noon to 5 p.m., Haddonfield, New Jersey.

QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning
Attendees of this festival will claim to have come face-to-face with an 80-foot Darth Vader head. It may sound like they’re full of hot air, but that’s really just the festival itself. More than 100 sport and special shaped balloons from around the world glide above the Hunterdon County Countryside in celebration of the largest hot air balloon and music festival in the nation. Friday to Sunday, July 24-26, $35, adults $35,  children ages 4-12 $15, children 3 and under are free, Solberg Airport, Readington, New Jersey.

Philadelphia Women’s Theater Festival

Feminism will take center stage during a festival that compares to The Vagina Monologues in its women-empowerment motif. The four-day event features back to back shows directed, written, performed, designed and administered by women. Included in the inaugural event will be an all-female cabaret, workshops and panel discussions. If you identify as a strong independent woman and with a passion for theatrics, this may be the perfect festival for you. Click here for the complete lineup. Thursday to Sunday, July 30th to August 2nd, free to public, donations accepted here, 11 Philly Way, Burlington, New Jersey.

Philadelphia Folk Festival
Don’t let the name fool you. This festival takes place away from Philly on an 80-acre farm that will be transformed into a folk fest wonderland for the 54th year in a row. “Fest” offers three days of low-key classic American tunes. National acts will perform back to back alongside emerging artists on seven different stages. Attendees who wish to take part in the ultimate festival experience can pitch a tent on the festival campgrounds and enjoy three nights of non-stop folk jamming. Thursday to Sunday, August 13-16, $165.00, 1323 Salford Station Road, Schwenksville.

Weird Week
You may encounter some unusual activities down the shore this summer. Ocean City is opening its beach to a whole week of quirky contests the whole family can enjoy. Turn salt water taffies into an artistic masterpiece, join the “Ears Looking at You” ear-wiggling contest, sculpt baked goods into creative figurines and more. Each contest is divided by age group: 5 and under, 6-8, 9-12, teens and adults. Monday to Friday, August 10-14, 11 am, free, Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and the Boardwalk, Ocean City, New Jersey.

MusikFest 2015
The Christmas City will be rumbling for 10 days straight when the Musikfest comes into town. Bethlehem streets will be filled with nonstop entertainment that’ll extend beyond musical performances. Celebrations include a Musikfest Color Me Rad 5K, standup comedy with Jerry Seinfeld, free street performances, and acres of tent-covered venues offering souvenirs and food. This year’s stellar lineup includes, Reba McEntire, Darius Rucker, 3 Doors Down With Collective Soul and so many more. Tuesday, August 6th to Sunday, August 16th, prices vary, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem.

Atlantic City Air Show
Veteran fighter pilots will maneuver through the air with such precision it’ll make your head spin. Ooo and ahh along with 500,000 other spectators as you look up to the skies to witness the dancing aircrafts above the Atlantic City beach and Boardwalk. This year features demonstrations by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Golden Nights. Prepare for a performance that will keep you on the edge of your beach towel and maybe leave you with a slight crick in your neck. Wednesday, September 2nd, 11 am, free, Atlantic City.