Public Info

Explore Your Wild Side at Union County’s Wild Earth Fest, May 1

wild earth fest flyerUnion County, NJ – April 20, 2022 — Union County’s popular Wild Earth Fest and Touch-a-Truck events are returning to the Watchung Reservation in Mountainside for the first time in two years. Both events will be held on Sunday, May 1, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., rain or shine. Please note that pets are not permitted at these events.

“Wild Earth Fest is a unique event that combines hands-on fun, games, music and magic with new opportunities to learn and interact with our natural surroundings, helping to raise awareness about the importance of conservation and environmental stewardship here in the Union County community and globally, too,” said County Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams.

This year, Wild Earth Fest features up-close experiences with live animals including:

Swift Farms Petting Zoo is bringing a variety of baby chicks, goats, rabbits, calves, lambs and other soft and fluffy animals.

Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant is bringing their traveling “touch tank” stocked with a horseshoe crab, pencil sea urchin, sea star and whelk. 

Falconer Brian Bradley of “Skyhunters in Flight” will present birds of prey at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Unique Creatures will present live reptiles, mammals, birds and insects from all over the world at 2:30 p.m.

Magician Joe Fischer will entertain audiences at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. with “Earth Day, Every Day, The Magic Way,” featuring magical solutions to pollution.

The Spicy Poblanos will also perform live music throughout the day. Featuring Dave Stefanic and Bob Gilmartin, this acoustic band entertains all ages with classic rock, 80’s pop, country, rhythm & blues and more.

Wild Earth Fest offers many other hands-on activities throughout the day:

  • Ride down a giant inflatable slide
  • Take home a plant to help keep the Earth clean and green
  • Discover the art of Gyotaku by creating a colorful fish print.
  • Play skee-ball, basketball, volleyball and other games in the “Recycling Olympics”
  • New this year: Child’s Play Challenge Course, a portable ninja-style obstacle course designed to challenge agility, coordination, balance, speed and endurance.

Along with the hands-on fun, attendees can peruse exhibitions and information tables from Toadshade Wildflower Farm, the New Jersey State Park Service and Forest Fire Service, Friends of the Great Swamp, Union County Master Gardeners, 4-H Master Tree Stewards, Neshanic Valley Beekeeper, Union County Future Farmers of America and much more.

Green-themed art will be on display and eco-friendly gifts such as candles, homemade soaps, beeswax products and native plants and seeds will be available for purchase.

To round out the festivities, a food truck will be on site all day along with ice cream and kettle corn.

Wild Earth Fest will take place on the grounds of Union County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation, located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside. Admission is free for ages six and under, and $5.00 for ages seven and up.

Admission to Wild Earth Fest also covers the Touch-a-Truck event, located a short walk away at The Loop playground complex. Please note that horns and sirens will not be sounded during the event, out of consideration for all attendees. A food truck and an ice cream truck will be on site for those wishing to purchase a snack.

For more details about “Wild Earth Fest” or other upcoming programs or events at Trailside, call 908-789-3670 or visit

Wild Earth Fest, Touch-a-Truck and Trailside are programs of the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. For information about all activities and programs, visit

Quick links to other environmental activities and programs hosted by Union County are available at The Green Connection,

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at

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For all Union County programs and services visit, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email or use the online Contact Form.

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