Grab your tickets, save your appetite for funnel cakes and wish yourself luck for the 50-50 raffles; the annual Pine Barrens Festival is here.
This year, the festival has a new addition to its bracelets. Attendees can purchase a Super Pass Ride Bracelet to save time in line. The bracelet costs $100 for the full week. Super Passes will also be sold July 22 and 23 at the ride ticket booth.
“Since the daily ride wristband is only good for one night, it gives families a way to compensate for Mother Nature throwing us a curve during the week,” said Festival Director Gary Williams.
One-night ride wristbands are $30 in advance and $35 during the festival. The wristbands are $5 off when purchased in advance. Wristbands are available for advance purchase at Russo‘s Fruit and Vegetable Farm, ShopRite of Medford or weekend masses at Church of the Holy Eucharist until July 21. Admission is free for those who just want to enjoy the sights.
Attendees also have a chance to win big this year. The festival has two to three Daily 50-50 raffle drawings nightly and a large Super 50-50 drawing that occurs Saturday night. Last year’s winner took home just over $18,000, according to the church.
Each day, from the 22nd to the 27th, as part of its Focus On Our Town Community Service Award, the festival will celebrate a different town within the Pinelands and honor a member who has “contributed to the culture and climate” of their communities.
The person or group was chosen to be elected by either the festival team or by recommendations from the various townships, according to the church. The week’s schedule is as follows, beginning July 22 and ending July 27: Medford on Monday; Woodland Township on Tuesday; Medford Lakes on Wednesday; Southampton on Thursday; Shamong on Friday; and Tabernacle on Saturday.
The event will also present its annual Pine Barrens Festival Award to an individual or group who has made a significant difference to the “culture, history, or environment of the NJ Pine Barrens,” according to the church.
This year‘s recipient is Walter Bien, emeritus research professor from Drexel University, who has studied how the NJ Pine Barrens area recovers from damage such as forest fires. His research will be showcased at the festival’s Pine Barrens booth, according to the church.
The Pinelands Cafe offers a variety of foods that are prepared fresh by volunteers daily. On certain nights, it will include dinner specials, such as pulled pork and pierogies. Other items include hamburgers, cheese steaks, chicken breast sandwiches, Italian sausage sandwiches, hot dogs, kids meals, salads, fries, sweet corn, onion rings and soda beverages.
Draft beer and white wine are available by the glass adjacent to the Pinelands Cafe, along with steamed crabs and shrimp and raw seafood (clams), fries, crab fries, chicken wings and ears, chicken tenders, nachos and clam chowder.
Dining can take place in open-air seating or under the festival’s large entertainment tent, which features entertainment that changes nightly. The scheduled entertainment for each consecutive night is as follows: Hicktown Roadband, Hot Sounds DJ, Trumpboyz Band, DJ Angelo Caloli, Mid Life Crisis Band, and Tequila Rose Band.
The festival is hosted by the Church of the Holy Eucharist and is located at 520 Medford Lakes Rd., Tabernacle. The event is open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. through Monday, July 22, to Thursday and 6 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.