The New Jersey Folk Festival is a large-scale, multi-faceted family and educational event that attracts approximately 15,000 to 18,000 people annually. Always held the last Saturday of April on the expansive grounds fronting the Eagleton Institute Woodlawn, at the 191 Ryders Lane, on the corner of George Street and Ryders Lane. The festival runs all day – 10am to 6pm – rain or shine, and is open to the public free of charge. While about half a dozen folk festivals in the United States are implemented by students, our Festival is the only one managed entirely by undergraduates as well as is the result of an academic course for credits. Most others are run via Student Activities boards.
The New Jersey Folk Festival focuses primarily on traditional indigenous, multicultural folk forms and artists from and residing in and around New Jersey. Traditional indigenous folk artists are carriers of folk tradition that are accurate and respectful in depicting folk culture; carriers of folk tradition are those who grew up in the tradition in which they perform or create and who learned their art within their family or community as part of daily life. Usually, but not exclusively, these tradition bearers do not earn a living from their art. At our Festival, we have an annual heritage theme which focuses on folk music, crafts and other traditions of a specific ethnic, cultural or regional heritage found within our state.
The Festival is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization of the State of New Jersey and supported by the Department of American Studies, modest county or state arts grants, student organizational donations, corporate and business sponsors, as well as by the fees paid by our food and craft vendors. The vendor fees are our largest sources of revenue. Several goods and services are also donated by local business and civic organizations.