SOMA boasts lots of fun ways to come together as a diverse community throughout the year. From jazz concerts to street festivals to holiday celebrations, there’s never a dull moment!



Beat the heat and bring a canopy or tent for a little shade at Maplewoodstock — Maplewood’s two-day music festival.  Complete with local music and arts plus. It’s held in Maplewood Memorial Park and is free for the community and open to families, three to four national acts and 18-19 spots reserved for mostly local music groups. Restaurants set up tables and booths so you can sample town flavors, or bring a picnic of your own.

North Jersey Pride Festival main stage

North Jersey Pride Festival

North Jersey Pride Festival is held annually in Maplewood NJ to promote equality, celebrate family and support LGBTQ youth through fun and educational events. Jersey Pride invite our allies to join Jersey Pride as full partners in the mission to make the world safer for all our children.  The all day, family-friendly event is followed by a parade and an after party.

South Orange PlayDay

PlayDay South Orange is South Orange Village’s largest public event held on South Orange Avenue and features more than 10 Play Areas, many sponsored by generous local organizations and companies. From board games to basketball, euro bungee to rope jumping, it’s the most fun you’ve ever had in the Street between two curbs! Other activities include inflatable Play Areas,  miniature golf, and a rock climbing wall.

South Orange PlayDay
Diwali Festival

Diwali Festival

Diwali Fest NJ is a free event open to the entire community and is curated to offer a distinctive and authentic experience of South Asia that reflects the artistic and cultural diversity of the region. SOMA Cross-Cultural Works partners with the Township of Maplewood to host the celebration of Diwali (Festival of lights). Check the event out at

Art, Books, and Film

SOMA Film Festival

The SOMA Film Festival begins with an opening-night gala and screening in March and ends with a closing-night awards ceremony, but throughout the festival, there are showings of over 100 long and short films.  There is also a kid-friendly portion of the festival that features some youth filmmakers. For more information, visit the website or contact

MAPSO Book Festival

The MAPSO Book Festival  bring authors and readers together to celebrate the joy and diversity of the written word. The event runs two days and offers author panels to discuss current major artistic, social and political issues and has something for everyone, with a children’s area designed to inspire young readers.  All inquiries should be directed to executive director Robert Lasner at

Holiday Celebrations

Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance, Volunteer Fair & Luminary Project

SOMA honors Dr. King through music, a sharing of interfaith readings, and an affirmation of Dr. King’s call to action and service at this annual event, complete with a keynote speaker, reception, and volunteer fair.

In the evening, residents light up the outside of their home with Luminaries as a sign of hope, sanctuary, peace, and solidarity with Dr. King’s vision of the Beloved Community. For more information, visit in a new tab).

Hand-decorated luminaries
Black History Month

Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, the Townships of South Orange and Maplewood join with local non-profit, community, and business partners to sponsor more than 40 artistic, cultural and educational events and activities. Throughout the month of February SOMA celebrates and raises awareness of the contributions and achievements Black Americans have made to the fabric of our society. For details, check in a new tab) in Maplewood and in a new tab)

Students at a Juneteenth information booth


In collaboration with Durand-Hedden House, the Community Coalition on Race is proud to sponsor a Juneteenth Celebration(opens in a new tab) to mark the end of slavery in the US. The event features festive and educational activities, plus historical displays. Past events have included reenactments from the Civil War Sixth Regiment Colored Troops, African drummers and dancers, special presentations from Nubian quilters, storytellers, and the making of paper quilt squares.

Halloween Parade and Costume Contest

This is a very popular event and each year, the Maplewood Costume Contest(opens in a new tab) outdoes itself. The roads are closed to traffic for the festivities which include trick-or-treating throughout the area, music and dancing, and all kinds of prizes for award-winning costumes. There are lots of ghosts and goblins wandering through Maplewood Village!

Crowds of people celebrating Halloween in Maplewood

Concert Series

Floods Hill Park Concert Series

In June on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m, enjoy arts and crafts in a scenic park setting. In July, free concerts continue with food trucks, art, activities and games for the kids.

The series is produced by South Orange Department of Recreation, Cultural Affairs and SOPAC. Find more information visit South Orange Arts & Culture.(opens in a new tab)

Floods Hill Summer Concert Series
South Orange Summer Nights

Other Concerts

South Orange Summer Nights

Art in the Park, Summer Concerts and Moonlit Movies are Wednesday night programs collectively known as South Orange Summer Nights jointly produced by the South Orange Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs and South Orange Performing Arts Center.  For a list of programs and other details, visit their website.

Gazebo Concerts

Springfield Avenue Gazebo Concerts

Maplewood Division of Arts & Culture sponsors the free Springfield Avenue Gazebo Concert Series with outdoor, live and in-person performances are scheduled for 7pm on Fridays from July 30th through August 27th. These family-friendly concerts are open to the public. Visit Maplewood Arts & Culture.

Downtown After Sundown

Downtown After Sundown

South Orange Village Center Alliance invites you to dine and dance under the stars at Downtown After Sundown. Join under the Gazebo for Jazz on Sloan or in Spiotta Park where every style of music from acoustic to zydeco, jazz to flamenco will be represented.

Concerts kick off Memorial weekend through Labor Day, every Friday and Saturday evening from 7 pm to 10 pm. A list of musical artists and concert dates can be found at .

Regional Attractions

Located in West Orange, Orange Reservoir is home to the Waterfront, a location run by the Essex Parks Department. The Waterfront offers a seasonal paddleboat launch, a 1.7-mile walking path and a children’s playground inspired by the reservoir locale. Orange Township residents pay just $9 or $11 for a two- or four-person paddleboat in-season between the hours of 12 and 8 p.m.

South Mountain Reservation, covering 2,110 acres (8 km2), is a nature reserve on the Rahway River that is part of the Essex County Park System in northeastern New Jersey, United States. It is located in central EssexCountyNew Jersey, within portion of MaplewoodMillburn and West Orange, and borders South Orange, between the first and second ridges of the Watchung Mountains.  Carved from wilderness at the end of the 19th century, designed by Olmsted Brothers, and developed over a few decades, the reservation has changed only slightly through the years. Preserved primarily in its wild state, woodlands abound in a variety of hardwood trees, and tall hemlocks tower above streams, creeks and ponds, and waterfalls. Higher points, such as Crater View, offer vistas of the New York and Jersey City skylines, ElizabethUnion Township, and Staten Island.

An exceptional zoo run by the Essex County Parks Department, Turtle Back Zoo offers countless animal attractions and lots to see and explore, including a playground, rides, behind-the-scenes tours and even mini-golf. Check out the aviary and the butterfly tent, or visit the waterfront. Stop by the touch tank in the aquarium, check out the big cats or go on an African adventure—all while supporting wildlife conservation and education.

The Turtle Back Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m Admission for infants and children under 2 is free.

Just 20 minutes from the SOMA area is the Liberty Science Center, which is the perfect place to expose children and students to the STEM fields and get them excited about science. With a rotating schedule of exhibitions, the largest planetarium in the western hemisphere, laser shows and 3-D films, and plenty of fun, there’s lots for kids to explore.

We’d love to have you join us for a virtual event or a gathering right here in SOMA. Don’t wait! Contact us today or sign up for our newsletter.