Beat the Heat: Handpicked Events for June 2-5, 2011

Ah, the first weekend post-MDW, the first official weekend of summer. Pools are open, ice cream trucks are out, and grills are fired up. In the spirit of summer here are some great events happening in the Princeton area this weekend.

Courtesy of neatorama.com

Thursday

Water, Water Everywhere
If you’re looking for a way enjoy the sun but avoid heat stroke in this 80°+ weather, check out this fun event for kids at the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed in Pennington. Miles of trails offer gorgeous scenery for the adults and kids ages 6-9 get to splash around as they learn about ponds and streams. Be sure to bring a pair of shoes that can get wet and call first to register at (609) 737-7592. ($12)

Student Aid Workshop
For those with older kids, the expense of college can be a huge shadow over the summer months. Come hear how to lessen these expenses with none other than U.S. Representative Rush Holt. At this free workshop at the Plainsboro Public Library, Representatives from the Department of Education and Rutgers University demystify the FAFSA application, Pell grants, Teach grants, Stafford Loans, Perkins loans, and state scholarships. At the end staff will even be on hand to discuss individual situations. 7-9 pm.

Friday

The Wizard of Oz
Another favorite element of summer is outdoor theater. Check out this production of The Wizard of Oz at Washington Crossing Open Air Theater before the mosquitoes get too out of hand. This family musical runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through June 12. Bring blankets and bug spray and take the opportunity for a family picnic. You can bring your own food or purchase light snacks (soda, water, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, hot dogs, candy, chips, ice cream, etc) from the refreshment stand. A line forms by 7:30 and no pre-ordering of tickets is allowed so definitely get there a bit early. ($15) Find out more HERE.

Saturday

Indie Music Night
Local indie darling Sarah Donner hosts this fantastic night of music. Performed outdoors at the Griggstown Pavillion, this semi-weekly show spotlights consistently good musicians, and with $5 for admission and $1 coffee and doughnuts, it’s truly one of the best kept secrets in the area. Half-hour sets play from 7-10pm. Find out more HERE.

Dumpster Drop-Off Day
If you’re a little late on your spring cleaning, take advantage of Dumpster Drop-off Day in West Windsor. Bring propane tanks, tires, bicycles, appliances, furniture, electronics, wood, metal, car batteries, used motor oil, and yard debris. They also take all types of paper so its a chance for students to get rid piles of paper left over from the school year. The Rescue Mission of Trenton will also be there accepting clothing and household items. Unfortunately the event is open only to West Windsor residents. 8 am-2 pm at Public Works, 70 Southfield Road, West Windsor. Call 609-799-8370 for details.

Strawberry Festival
Here in the Garden State, one of the most iconic tastes of summer is fresh picked strawberries. Now that strawberry season is in full swing (it starts around mid-May) come celebrate them at the annual Strawberry Festival at the First Presbyterian Church of Cranbury (22 South Main Street, Cranbury). Rain or shine the festival will feature face painting, games, pony rides, music, fire truck, and police cars along with ice cream, cake, and, of course, strawberries. $25 gets you a family pass for the day and all proceeds goes to the church’s benevolence fund. 4-8 pm.

Sunday

New Jersey Renaissance Faire
For those who have never been, the annual New Jersey Renaissance Faire is an event not to be missed. Liberty Lake in Bordentown is completely transformed into a 17th century village. Expert historians engage in jousting, sword fighting, glass blowing, and falconry and there are tons of vendor selling everything from handmade jewelry to swords and armor. Tickets are $20 at the door but you can save $2 by pre-ordering online. 11 am-6 pm Saturday and Sunday. Check out their website for tickets and photos and videos from last year’s faire. Costumes encouraged.

Dragon Boat Festival
Paddle for Pink, an organization in support of the Breast Cancer Resource Center or the YWCA in Princeton, hosts New Jersey’s largest Dragon Boat Festival this Sunday at the Mercer County Park Marina. Since 2007 the group has raised almost $30,000. If the good cause wasn’t enough, Dragon Boat racing also happens to be incredibly fun. The traditional Chinese boats are carved to look like dragons and are powered by teams of 20 paddlers. Boats, life-jackets, and paddles are all provided and you can register as an individual or a group. Novices and experts welcome. $40 per person, register and find out more HERE.