April 24, 2024
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April 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Every year as summer starts the NJ Transit buses are lined with ads for the Meadowlands State Fair. Is it just some dinky carnival like the one that takes place during chol hamoed in Mosney? In case you didn’t know, every chol hamoed several parking lots in Monsey become a faux mini Six Flags with some rusty old ferris wheel and a truck called “the whip.” But the Meadowlands State Fair is far from some schnorry little Monsey shindig.

Over the years the annual June-July event has grown to a full scale carnival euphoria. There are still the shady carnival workers that try to sucker you into throwing a ball into a basket for a few dollars. And yes, I am one of those suckers who just does not get why the creepy carnival dude can go 5 for 5 getting the ball in, while I lose 50 bucks in two minutes as the ball pops right out. Games aside, there are plenty of fun attractions to keep you busy at the Meadowlands State Fair.

Firstly, before you plan on going, take a look online at the bargain night calendar. There are several nights that offer some nice discounts so try to pick a discounted day to visit. The biggest question you will have once you arrive is whether you should purchase the unlimited ride band or tickets for individual rides. For the real thrill seekers, and those who want to go on every ride, go online and buy the mega pass in advance for $28—it will save you $7 (The pass includes general admission and unlimited ride band). One other idea is to walk the carnival and take advantage of the free entertainment before you shell out the big bucks for a ride band.

Keep a tally on what rides you would want to go on and try to get by with just buying tickets for the individual rides.

A great ride to start with is the ferris wheel. It features an incredible view of the Manhattan skyline and the bankrupt unfinished mega mall Xanadu. Words of caution, some of the rides are quite the stomach churners. If The Scrambler makes you toss your cookies, stick with the funhouse, mirror maze, or kiddie rides. When you arrive at a ride with no one waiting online, wait for some other chums to go on first so you can see firsthand how insane the ride is before you hop on. Kiddie rides for the most part are ok, but it’s always best to keep the kids on the basic rides rather than tossing them on the Vomiteer, even though it looks innocuous.

Now onto the free entertainment. There is a circus, petting zoo, big cat show, and pig race that the kids are sure to enjoy. They only perform a few times a day so get the daily show schedule when you arrive and plan your time around the shows you would like to see most. One of my favorites is hypnotist Steve Bayner. It may not be for small children with short attention spans because it takes some time for Mr. Bayner to get his victims on the stage and get the show started. Of course the show varies based on audience, but the later the evening, and the rowdier the crowd, the better the show. I have been with people that were hypnotized so I can say first hand it is for real. If your friend or spouse is called up you will wet your pants with laughter, so have your iPhone ready in video mode to film them as they make fools of themselves. Mr. Bayner’s show is must see, so get there early and get a good seat.

The other major attraction at the fair is the food. As a kosher consumer, the good news is that you will save money compared to other fair goers who are shelling out big bucks for fried everything. Yes, they fry everything!

Meats, Twinkies, Oreos, and unmentionables. One specialty I am glad I can avoid is the The Donut Burger – a hamburger with bacon and cheese placed between two Krispy Kreme Donuts (Super treyf and just gross!) The aroma is overwhelming and you may want to pack some bissili or granola bars in all your pockets. Or, you can go out to eat before you arrive so all you crave is some ice cream, popcorn, or fresh lemonade. Another option if you want an authentic fair culinary experience,  is to pick up some take out and bring it to the fair for a mini tailgate party. Fried Milky Ways are now just a savory memory of the past since Fish of the C’s closed down. But there is one other little known option for fried delicacies in Bergen County. Gotham Burger offers fried pareve Oreos and they are fantastic. Mocha Bleu also has soft churos that surely will satisfy your carnival cravings.

Overall the Meadowlands State Fair it is the biggest and best carnival you will find in the immediate tri-state area. The fair can be an overwhelming experience for the little ones. So the basic rule to follow when you go with the family is to go early in the day on the weekend, or at dusk on a weeknight. The weekends and late nights are quite busy and bustling with a teen and adult crowd. Keep in mind that admission is FREE any day for children who are shorter than 34 inches. So kids’ day night might not be a big metziah for families with kids all under 34 inches tall. There are also special events, live music, and fireworks on several evenings that are worth checking out. For more info visit http://www.njfair.com

By Benjamin Cohen

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