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Top Columbus Day Weekend Events in New Jersey

2019 Celebrations, Parades, and Popular Events

NJ Columbus Day Weekend Events

Discover what's happening during the 2020 Columbus Day weekend with celebrations of parades, events and festivals in New Jersey.

Columbus Day celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas, on October 12, 1492, or as some historians claim, that event set in motion the chain of events that led to the discovery of the United States as we know it today.

With a large immigration of Catholics during the mid-19th century and in response to discrimination from anti-immigrant activists, most notably the Ku Klux Klan, Catholics created organizations to combat discrimination and provide a means of survival for struggling immigrants.

The Knights of Columbus who chose that name in part because they viewed Christopher Columbus, a Catholic as the icon of the struggle of Catholic immigrants and their pursuit of citizenship.

Today many Italian-Americans and Italian-American organizations such as the Sons of Italy and the Italian-American Association observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage.

The first known celebration of Columbus Day began in New York City, a city with a large Catholic population, occurred on October 12, 1866.

Columbus Day was first celebrated as a holiday in the United States as a result of the efforts of Angelo Noce, a first generation Italian, in Denver. In April 1934, as a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, Congress and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt set aside October 12 as Columbus Day and a Federal holiday.

State of NJ

NJ COVID 19 Update:
At this this time, New Jersey has lifted all COVID-19 Restrictions.

We  continue to recommend viewers contact the event sponsors before heading out to a listed event to confirm their status.

Stay tuned --- we will be updating this list as our sponsors confirm this year's events

2020 Northern Jersey Columbus Day Weekend Festivals, events, and Parades

Jersey City Columbus Day -Flag Raising Ceremony
Monday, October 5, 2020; 12pm
City Hall Balcony

280 Grove St
For 2020, sue to Covid-19 social distancing, all attendees will be in front of City Hall Plaza for group pictures. The U.S. National Anthem will be played followed by Italy's National Anthem. Italian Flag raising from City Hall balcony can be viewed in front of City Hall Plaza.

West Milford Autumn Lights Festival
Saturday, October 10, 2020; All day
Union Valley Rd
West Milford, NJ
The Autumn Lights Festival first started 20 years ago as a celebration to West Milford for getting its first traffic light! In the beginning it was just the town gathering on the lawn of Town Hall.
Today it has grown to a street fair that has over 300 vendors, live music, child activities, games and rides. With about 20,000 'ALFers' that visit throughout the day.

Nutley-Belleville Columbus Day Parade
Sunday, October 11, 2020; 10:30am
Belleville Township Hall
152 Washington Avenue
Belleville, NJ, 07109
Contact: Pasquale Meola at 973- 489-7002 or email at
For 2020, the parade, that usually starts in Belleville and concludes in Nutley, will be replaced by a caravan of cars decorated to celebrate Italian Heritage.
The events of the day will begin at Belleville Township Hall at 10:30 a.m. with the raising of the Italian flag. At noon, a ceremony will take place at the Columbus monument on the lawn of Nutley Township Hall. Then, at 1:30 p.m., the caravan of cars will begin at Belleville High School before making its way to Franklin Ave in Nutley.

2020  Central Jersey Columbus Day Weekend Festivals, events, and Parades

Annual Amazing Pumpkin Carve - Drive-in
Wednesday, October 7 to Sunday , October 11, 2020
Woosley Park
221 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road
Hopewell Township, New Jersey
(609) 281-5887
Website/tickets (Purchase tickets in advance or at the gate during hours of operation)
Admission: $25 per vehicle (1-6 occupants) $40 per vehicle (>6 occupants) $100 per bus.
This years event will be a drive-thru Event
This family event will feature 40 colossal pumpkins will be carved and electrified by the area's most talented artists and displayed in a beautifully illuminated drive-thru all from the comfort and safety of your vehicle!
Ffriday & Saturday live bands perform from 7pm – 9pm, Sunday all-day fun and DJ with NJ Sings LLC

8th Annual Dunellen HarvestFest
Sunday, October 11, 2020: 11am -4pm (RAIN OR SHINE)
Washington Park
N. Washington Ave., between Dunellen Ave. & First St.,
Dunellen, NJ 08812
This Family event will feature artists and crafters from around the Garden State, local nonprofits, activities for kids, foods, music, dancing, and more!
For Attendees: Please follow all current regulations including wearing masks, social distancing. Sanitizer stations will be placed around the park and booths have been spaced further apart to aid in traffic flow. This year will not feature pony rides, bouncy obstacle course or apple pie contest. However, the pumpkin decorating contest will still be held.

2020 Southern Jersey Columbus Day Weekend Festivals, events, and Parades

The 3rd Annual Crest Best Run Fest
Saturday, October 10 & Sunday October 11, 2020
Centennial Park E. Fern Rd.
Wildwood Crest, NJ
Website/Registration --- You will be asked to register online from your smartphone if coming to register on-site. Credit-card only. Registration for same day will close 30 mins before race start time.
The 3rd Annual Crest Best Run Fest, presented by Inspira Health, is a world class running event. This event features 5 races over 2 days for runners seeking the ultimate experience and swag.
There will be strict COVID-19 requirements in place. Centennial Park will be for athletes only. No spectators within the park. Spectators can watch (while social distancing) from outside the fenced area.
Saturday, October 10, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:20 pm 5K & Baker Brother Athlete Check In Centennial Park
5:30 pm 5K RACE STARTS Centennial Park
6:30 pm 5K Awards Ceremony Centennial Park
Sunday, October 11, 2020
6:00 am - 7:50 am 10 Miler Athlete Check In Centennial Park
8:00 am 10 MILER RACE STARTS Centennial Park
10:30 am 10 Miler Awards Ceremony Centennial Park
11:30 am Race Course Closes

6th Annual LBI FLY International Kite Festival
October 10 & 11th, 2020
Ship Bottom
Long Beach Island, NJ 08008
Celebrate Columbus Day weekend with brilliant colorful artist design kites, fun flying giant inflatable kites and the amazing show of sport kiting to our beautiful island. Many of these fliers are invited guests in prestigious festivals around the world. This free and cross-generational event will yield even more spectacular and unusual kites this year – as well as displayed at local galleries prior to the festival.
Courteous social distancing is expected of all attending beachgoers.