What’s New At The Ocean County Fair?

Photo by Chris Lundy

The Ocean County Fair has been a mainstay for more than seven decades, but there are still new things to see and do.

  There is a balancing act between bringing new things in to keep it fresh, and maintain favorites that people want to see, said fair manager Jeff Adams.

  “There are a couple of entertainers that people always want to see, like the carvers and the racers,” he said.

  Speaking of balancing acts, a new show will be put on by a troupe doing high-wire walks, trapeze, and catapulting around.

  The butterfly encounter will be another new feature. There will be a place for people to go inside, feed butterflies, and get up close to them. This encounter is only open during daylight hours, as the butterflies don’t eat after dark.

  The Curiosity Zone is an inflatable planetarium that will put on shows.

Photo courtesy The Ocean County Fair

  There will be a different pony ride vendor. Instead of the ponies being led around a carousel, they will be free to walk around a specific area.

  The 4-H is of course still a very large part of the fair. This time, they are trying to have guests be more hands-on, with more doing than looking, he said. For example, the ATV club will show you how to work on an ATV. The goal is to get more people interested in joining once they get a taste of some of the cool things that kids are doing. This will be under one large tent instead of several tents.

  A general schedule of events has been published online:

Wednesday, July 10, 5-11 p.m.

  • Simply Three Band (locals playing classic rock)
  • 6 p.m.: Toms River K-9 demonstration

Thursday, July 11, 5-11 p.m.

  • 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Jackson Pines, a local folk band. They will perform on stage and then walk around with instruments, bringing their music through the fair.
  • $18 wristbands for unlimited rides
  • Dr. Steven Michaels (comedy hypnosis, from Ocean County)
  • Chariot Riders Therapeutic Horse Riding Demo

Friday, July 12, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

  • After the Reign (country) 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. “People always ask for them to come back,” Adams said.
  • Clarizio Music Rock Band
  • Horse show.
  • Cowboy Larry western show 2-6 p.m.
Cory Hess, 10, and Jon Hess, 6, both of Bayville, ride a camel at the Ocean County Fair. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

Saturday, July 13, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

  • Scott DeCarlo (Jersey bred country)
  • R&B Express, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Cowboy Larry western show 2-6 p.m.

Sunday, July 14, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

  • $18 wristbands for unlimited rides
  • Sketchy Medicine
  • Kaotic Control

  There will be some entertainment that will be throughout the fair. These are mostly return visitors who the fairgoers like to see. They are:

  • Marvelous Mutts dog show
  • Dinosaurs Rock Exhibit and activities
  • Pig Races
  • Chainsaw Carver ​(not available on Sunday)
  • Marshall Stevens Pony Rides
Kayleigh O’Brien, 8 (on left), and Gianna Lightbody, 4, pet some rabbits raised by 4-H members. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

Rides, Games and Food

  The fair will have the same ride vendor as they had last year, Adams said. This outfit is a family-run operation out of Englishtown, New Jersey.

  On Thursday and Sunday, there will be $18 wristbands for unlimited rides.

  The carnival-style food and games will also be throughout the ride area. There will also be new food trucks on site.

  Location: Robert J. Miller Airpark, Route 530 in Berkeley. “The county goes out of their way to accommodate us there,” Adams said.

  Cost: Admission is $8. Children under 10 are free. Parking is free. For more information, visit OceanCountyFair.com.

Fair History

  The fair is in its 72nd year. It started at the Ocean County Park in Lakewood, but outgrew it in the 1980s. It was then relocated to Berkeley Township where it resides today.

  It used to be an agricultural show, for local farmers to show off their crops, Adams said. However, as farming gave way to housing and commercial development, there are very few farms left locally. The 4-H has taken on the agricultural aspect of the fair, showing off what families have grown and nurtured.