July is National Blueberry Month, so from ocean waves and bright skies to captivating entertainment and tasty foods, we will be highlighting the blues of summer.
First up, and coinciding with our celebration of the Red, White and Blue for Independence Day, is Be Nice to New Jersey Week (July 3-9, 2019). That’s right, there’s a whole week dedicated to showing love to the Garden State. Declared in 1985 by the editor of the Lone Star Publications of Humor in Texas, the holiday was a purported opportunity to lament for cracking NJ jokes.
We have NJ to thank for our blueberry crop.
Our survey of New Jersey history and experiences shows that there is much worthy of showering praise. One cause for appreciation is the fact that a shrewd New Jersey businesswoman, Elizabeth White, is the reason we have luscious blueberries readily available at the grocery store. In 1910, she read a USDA report highlighting the potential for the crop and invited government botanists to her family farm to tame the wild blueberry for agricultural production. Roughly 40 miles from the site of White’s farm is the town of Hammonton, which calls itself the Blueberry Capital of the World. It is the home of the Atlantic Blueberry Company, a 75+ year old family business that is one of the largest producers of high-bush blueberries.
So, it’s only fitting that the first of the New Jersey experiences we highlight be tied to this precious fruit.
Hammonton hosts a premier family festival in the Delaware Valley. Enjoy great food and blueberries in every form at this event featuring live entertainment, arts & crafts, a car show, carnival performers, and more. Admission and parking are FREE.
At this family-friendly event, you can partake in the pick-your-own blueberry patch and enjoy country music, tractor rides, children’s activities, a blueberry buffet, and more. Admission is $10 and parking is free.
Now, for a different take on foodie blues, check out national and regional musicians at the Anglesea Blues Festival, which is held in partnership with the New Jersey State BBQ Championship. The championship will feature BBQ teams from around the country, cooking demos and more. FREE admission.
After eating your way through other towns, take the opportunity to quench your thirst on the Southern Ocean County Brew Trail. Pick up a map at any of ten participating locations and navigate your way on a route of breweries, surf and lifestyle stops, and historical sites. Guests who visit every stop can be entered into a raffle at the Southern Ocean Chamber visitor center. Grand prize winner will receive gift cards and merchandise from all trail locations.
But wait, there’s more…
With so many options to feed your stomach, it’s only fair that we give you equal opportunity to feed your mind. Among New Jersey’s distinctions are the fact that it saw more Revolutionary War battles than any other state and that it was first to sign the Bill of Rights. The state hosts many fascinating tours where you can learn about its colonial history, a couple of which are highlighted below.
Enjoy an authentically patriotic 4th of July at historic Morristown Green. Participate in FREE tours highlighting the earliest settlers of Morris County, march with costumed Revolutionary War soldiers before the reading of the Declaration of Independence, and experience musical performers and a musket salute.
Join the annual celebration of Alexander Hamilton’s life and legacy in the city that defined his formative years. You will visit the home of his childhood friend, a special exhibit at the public library, and a program at the First Presbyterian Church. Program fee: FREE.