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New Jersey tradition and humanities occasions, fall 2022 – Gothamist


Whether you’re seeking arts and crafts, dance, live music, or theater, these choice picks among New Jersey events and performances happening throughout the fall will keep locals happy, while also tempting visitors.

Sea.Hear.Now. Festival
North Beach of Asbury Park – Bradley Park – Atlantic Park
September 17th-18th

Music, the beach, a surfing contest, art, and great food — you couldn’t ask for a more perfect send-off to summer. This two-day event features concerts on three stages, including performances by Stevie Nicks, Green Day, My Morning Jacket, and numerous others. Just across the boardwalk, some of the country’s best surfers will compete for cash prizes in the “North Beach Rumble” contest. Local artists will also display their work, and the surrounding area is dotted with some of the state’s best eats.

Peters Valley Craft Fair
Sussex County Fairgrounds, Augusta
September 24th-25th

Peters Valley is among the premier schools of fine craft, and its annual fair is a New Jersey autumn tradition. Attendees will see the work of over 100 of the country’s top quiltmakers, blacksmiths, and furniture makers, not to mention jewelry artists, glass blowers, basket weavers, and numerous other artisans. A day trip to Sussex County is a long hike — you will need a car — but it’s a great way to get out of the city, clear your head, and see some gorgeous crafts.

The disability arts ensemble Kinetic Light brings “DESCENT” to New Brunswick

Photo by Jay Newman/BRITT Festival

Kinetic Light
New Brunswick Performing Arts Center
September 30th-October 1st

The disability arts ensemble Kinetic Light features dancers in wheelchairs, and regularly collaborates with disabled artists in set design, choreography, and more. In a weekend of performances presented by the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, the company will present “DESCENT,” inspired by the writings and art of Auguste Rodin and focused on the mythic characters Venus and Andromeda.

Collingswood Book Festival
Haddon Avenue, Collingswood
October 1st

The Collingswood Book Festival, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, brings together over 60 authors of all kinds of books, plus used book dealers, food, music, and games. You can meet the authors, talk to them about their work, and pick up a good selection of reading to keep you going for the winter months. This event is much closer to Philadelphia than the New York City metro area, but if books are your thing, it’s worth the trip.

Iconic salsa ensemble El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico celebrates its 60th anniversary in Newark.

Photo by Courtesy of the artists

Newark Art Festival
Various locations, Newark
October 6th-9th

A sprawling event comprising open studios, art exhibitions, performances, and more, the Newark Art Festival this year embraces the concept of “Artful Healing.” Responding to the overwhelming events of recent years, festival organizers have declared that they aim to create “a collective restorative experience through thoughtfully curated artwork, performances and programming meant to help Newark’s artist community and festival attendees begin to heal holistically.” Highlights include a group show at the Newark Museum and specially commissioned performances.

El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico
New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark
October 8th

Puerto Rico’s most popular and successful salsa group celebrates its 60th year with a special concert in Newark. This orchestra has been performing continuously since the 1960s, albeit with a revolving roster. El Gran Combo has won a Grammy, been inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame, and sold out arenas around the world. They’re joined at this performance by Latin-pop heartthrob Luis Figueroa and comedian Sara Contreras. Put on your dancing shoes and prepare to encounter devoted fans and absolutely irresistible beats.

Playwright Tylie Shider (left) speaks with actor Joy Sudduth during a workshop for the new play “Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family.”

Photo by Courtesy Tylie Shider

“Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family”
Liberty Hall Museum, Union
October 13th-23rd

This new play by Tylie Shider shines light on a tense and important moment in New Jersey history via a personal story. It’s 1967, and the racial and civil unrest of Newark’s “Long Hot Summer” threatens to spill over into the nearby town of Plainfield, where a young family has moved to build a better life. Shaken by what they see, the family considers moving back to the South. Presented by Premiere Stages at Keen, it’s a rare opportunity to see a rising playwright’s work near the location that helped to inspire it.

“Richard II”
Luna Stage, West Orange
October 20th-November 13th

If the machinations of New Jersey (or national) politics have you wondering if things have always been this sordid and messed up, this production of “Richard II” will put everything into perspective, probably leading you to conclude that yes, they have. Luna Stage has a terrific reputation for mounting experimental productions of both new and historic plays, and features four actors playing 16 roles in what it describes as “a taut reimagining of Shakespeare’s intimate, devastating history play about the danger of unchecked power.”

The Montclair Film Festival has become a major draw for the region’s cinephiles.

Photo by Courtesy Montclair Film Festival

Montclair Film Festival
Various locations, Montclair
October 21st-31st

Details are still scarce right now, but the Montclair Film Festival has a solid reputation of bringing good films and a healthy dose of star power to the suburbs for 11 years now. Competitions cover a number of categories, including two dedicated to New Jersey filmmakers, attracting creators from near and far to premiere their work at this popular series. Panel discussions, family events and other activities round out this hotly anticipated 10-day celebration.

“Jaws in Concert”
Various venues, Red Bank, Newark, and New Brunswick
October 28th-30th

It’s almost impossible to pick just one offering from the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra to include on this list – the ensemble’s centennial season includes performances with cello superstar Yo-Yo Ma, guest conductors, and crowd-pleasing holiday events. But this offering stands out: The orchestra will perform the John Williams score for “Jaws” in sync with a screening of the film, terrorizing audience members in the best possible way, and showing the power of images paired with sound. We dare you to not be on the edge of your seat when that haunting two-note theme creeps up.

Art Fair 14c in Jersey City prides itself on emphasizing inclusivity rather than exclusivity.

Photo by Courtesy Art Fair 14c

Art Fair 14c
The Armory, Jersey City
November 11th-13th

Think of it as “Art Basel: New Jersey” – now in its fourth year, Art Fair 14c will set up shop in the 47,000 square foot Jersey City Armory, hosting 95 exhibitors with artists and galleries from as far away as Australia and Brazil, as well as a prominent section, The Showcase, exclusively devoted to New Jersey artists. Something that makes this event different from most other fairs is its emphasis on inclusivity, rather than exclusivity; programming includes multilingual events and “low stimulation tours” for attendees on the autism spectrum.

Nimbus Dance
Nimbus Arts Center at the Lively, Jersey City
December 9th-23rd

There are literally dozens of “Nutcracker” performances taking place throughout the state during the holidays, but only one incorporates the history of Jersey City in its telling. Nimbus Dance presents its homegrown version of the classic Tchaikovsky ballet, in which all the usual characters like the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Rat King share the stage with locals like the Statue of Liberty and infamous Mayor Frank Hague. The set features vivid animated video projections, resulting in a unique performance you won’t find anywhere else.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the Collingswood Book Festival and its location were identified incorrectly.


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