UPDATE 9/4/20: The Trenton Pork Roll Festival scheduled to take place tomorrow, Sept. 5, has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The news was posted to the Trenton Social Facebook page in a post:
“We waited to make this announcement, hoping that restrictions would ease up and we would be able to safely hold our 7th Annual Trenton Pork Roll Festival on September 5th. In the interest of public health and safety, we regrettably cannot move forward with the event as planned. The wellbeing of our guests, vendors, and team is paramount. Those who purchased tickets will be refunded immediately. We’re going to retool our festival concept so that we can still throw the best Pork Roll party at a later date.”
Pork roll, Taylor ham—whatever you call it, you’ll have a chance to celebrate New Jersey’s most iconic food product this month in Trenton.
Since 2014, New Jersey’s capital city has hosted at least one festival in honor of pork roll, and 2020 won’t be an exception. Trenton Social postponed its annual May celebration, but will go forward with a Saturday, Sept. 5 date for the Trenton Pork Roll Festival at its South Broad Street location.
Trenton Social’s pork roll party features food trucks, live music from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., a beer garden and full bar. P-Roll, a pork roll-themed superhero, will make an appearance once again.
Tickets are $5, but there are several options to enhance your day, including a bike tour ($18, includes festival admission) and a VIP hospitality ticket ($48). Children 12 and under, as well as uniformed first responders and military, are free. The event is rain or shine.
Trenton makes a natural place to celebrate pork roll, with the two major producers of the meat—Taylor and Case’s—still calling the city home.
Pork roll was created in the mid-19th century by John Taylor, a resident of Hamilton Square. Taylor initially sold his product as “Taylor’s Prepared Ham,” and the name stuck in the northern half of New Jersey even though regulations and competitors required Taylor to switch to calling the meat “pork roll” soon after launching it.
Taylor’s major competitor, Case’s, came on the scene in 1870, when George Washington Case, a farmer from Belle Mead created his own recipe for pork roll. Case’s says its recipe has not changed since that first batch in 1870.
Now, 150 years later, the two are still going at it—much to the delight of pork roll lovers in New Jersey. They’ll get to celebrate that fact Sept. 5.
Trenton Pork Roll Festival. Saturday, Sept. 5, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Trenton Social. 449 S. Broad St. Trenton, N.J. 08611. trentonporkrollfestival.com.
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If pork roll isn’t quite your taste, you still have some options for things to do throughout the (609) in September. Many annual events have been cancelled already, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At press time, the following events were still scheduled to take place. Check with the organizer before heading out to ensure the event will proceed. New Jersey is currently under an executive order requiring all people wear masks when social distancing is not possible. Please be responsible when venturing out.
Sunday, Sept. 13
Tour the oldest house in Mercer County
Built on a bluff overlooking Watson’s Creek in Hamilton, the Isaac Watson House was built in 1708, and is recognized as the oldest house in Mercer County. It serves as the headquarters of the New Jersey State Society of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and was restored by NJDAR in 1964 as part of the New Jersey Tercentenary Celebration. Watson House is rarely open to the public, with docent-guided tours occurring once a month, only in the spring and fall. Free. 1-4 p.m. 151 Wescott Ave., Hamilton, N.J. 08610. njdar.org.
Weekend of Sept. 19
Hosted by Valenzano Winery in Shamong, the Winefest NJ wine and music festival will be very different in its 19th year. Changes have been made to provide an entertaining event while ensuring social distancing standards can be maintained. Tickets must be purchased in advance online. Capacity will be limited to 10% of normal levels. Wine will be sold by the bottle only, no sampling. And the festival itself will have a smaller footprint. But with a slew of festivals cancelled across the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s one that’s proceeding. $30. Noon-5 p.m. 1318 Old Indian Mills Rd., Shamong, N.J. 08088. (609) 268-6731. winefestnj.com.
Saturday, Sept. 26
New Jersey Storytelling Festival
The annual event at Howell Living History Farm has been cancelled, but organizers say they’re still hoping to virtually provide stories all day for fans of all ages. Details were still in the works, as of press time, but be sure to check out the New Jersey Storytelling Network’s website for the latest details. njstorynet.org.