This will be a year of landmarks for New Jersey, including the state’s 350th birthday as well as its first Super Bowl. But there’s a lot more on the way, too, and though it’s still way too early to give a complete rundown about what’s coming in the worlds of music, film, theater, museums and family entertainment, turn the page for a look at some of the most enticing events to keep in mind for the months ahead.
4 — "Downton Abbey" comes to Acorn Hall in Morristown at a Victorian-themed event with English tea organized by the Morristown County Historical Society. acornhall.org
10-Feb. 9 — Phylicia Rashad directs August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning drama "Fences" at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton. mccarter.org
15 — The Montclair Art Museum throws itself a 100th birthday party, with a performance by the Newark Boys Chorus, a giant Cake Boss cake and other attractions. montclairartmuseum.org
17 — "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" reboots the Tom Clancy franchise, this time with Jim Kirk — er, Chris Pine — as a younger version. shadowrecruitmovie.com
17-26 — The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s Winter Festival continues its multi-year celebration of the elements with an "earth" theme featuring large-scale works by Mahler and Strauss and a U.S. premiere by Tan Dan. Concerts take place at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, the State Theatre in New Brunswick, the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and the Richardson Auditorium in Princeton. njsymphony.org.
22 — Hip-hop valorizes youth, but Jay Z has managed to stretch his imperial reign over rap music into his mid-40s. The veteran emcee will bring his microphone and his deep catalog of hits to the Prudential Center in Newark. ticketmaster.com
1 — It’s the day before Groundhog Day, so what better time could there be to investigate groundhog burrows and learn about these furry weather forecasters at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association Reserve just outside Pennington. thewatershed.org
2 — All eyes on East Rutherford (and the weather reports) for Super Bowl XLVIII, with Bruno Mars headlining the halftime show. nfl.com/superbowl/48
7 — Pushed out of an overcrowded 2013 Oscar-season, George Clooney’s "The Monuments Men" still promises wartime drama. monumentsmenmovie.com
7-9 — Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania at the Fest for Beatles Fans at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan. Donovan, Cousin Brucie and Chad & Jeremy will be among the guests. thefest.com
8-15 — It’s Bacon Week at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City with the "Pig Choice Awards," bacon cocktails, candy, milkshakes, cakes, sandwiches and burgers. tropicana.net
28 — "American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell," opens at the Newark Museum, and will run through May 26. newarkmuseum.org
28 — It’s a masterpiece of roots music: a hushed, stark, haunted album released in 1988. The Cowboy Junkies will perform "The Trinity Sessions" in its entirety at the South Orange Performing Arts Center — and supplement the performance of their best-known work with other material from the band’s austere songbook. sopacnow.org
1 — Veteran traditionalist country singer George Strait is galloping off into the sunset — but not before saying goodbye with an extensive concert tour. His Cowboy Rides Away Tour stops at Prudential Center in Newark, with Martina McBride opening. ticketmaster.com
2 — Seductive soul man or king of smarm? Robin Thicke is both. He’ll come to Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City a much bigger star than he was this time last year, thanks to "Blurred Lines," 2013’s most inescapable pop hit. If you need to hear it again, here’s your chance. theborgata.com. Also March 6 at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden (ticketmaster.com).
13-16 — Virtuoso violinist Hilary Hahn joins the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra to play Brahms’ Violin Concerto in concerts at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and the Richardson Auditorium in Princeton that will also include music by Stravinsky and Esa-Pekka Salonen, njsymphony.org
13-23 — The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and Two River Theater in Red Bank collaborate on a production of "The Music Man" directed by Obie Award winner Robert O’Hara with an African-American cast. tworivertheater.org or njpac.org
21 — "Muppets Most Wanted" brings back our favorite fuzzy folk, this time with an evil Kermit, Tina Fey and Lady Gaga. muppets.disney.com/muppets-most-wanted
27 — The fearlessly expressive and technically spectacular mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato sings her specialty, Rossini, and more in the Richardson Auditorium as part of the Princeton University Concerts series. princetonuniversityconcerts.org
28-April 7 — You may not always like (or understand) her frenetic records, but Lady Gaga always puts on a committed show — and when she’s onstage with her dancers, she gives her fans everything she’s got. Her seven shows at the Roseland Ballroom in New York will be the last, ever, at the historic venue. Later in the year, she’ll stop at Madison Square Garden, May 13, and Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, June 28. ticketmaster.com
31 — Twenty artists will perform Paul Simon songs at Carnegie Hall in New York to benefit music education programs. But will anyone have the guts to tackle "Bridge Over Troubled Water"? carnegiepaulsimon.com
3 — She trashed her wholesome Hannah Montana image, made the foam finger as famous as any sports team could, and brought twerking to the mainstream. It was quite a year for Miley Cyrus. Now she’s got to get down to the serious business of making music, which she’ll attempt to do at the Izod Center in East Rutherford. ticketmaster.com
4 — One of the noblest and definitely most retro superheroes gets a second adventure in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." facebook.com/captainamericamovie
4-5 — Celebration of the Suds, better known as the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival, is three days of beer, beer seminars, culinary demos and bands at Convention Center. celebrationofthesuds.com
9-May 4 — The Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn promises "Some Enchanted Evening" with the classic musical, "South Pacific." papermill.org
10-13 — The innovative Scottish theater company Cryptic makes its U.S. debut with "Orlando," a work that uses digital technology to retell the story of Virginia Woolf’s hero at Montclair State University. peakperfs.org
21 — Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, recently of the Metropolitan Opera’s "Falstaff," sings from the Great American Songbook at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton. mccarter.org
26-27 — The Shad Festival, held in Lambertville since 1981, is an iconic Jersey spring event. The two-day celebration highlights the local arts community, Lambertville, the Delaware River and the town’s favorite fish. facebook.com/shadfest
27 — Long before Enrique Iglesias scaled the charts, his dad Julio Iglesias was making hearts flutter. The Madrid-born crooner stands as the best-selling recording artist in the history of Latin music. He’ll heat up the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark this spring. njpac.org. Also at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank (countbasietheatre.org), April 29, and Revel in Atlantic City, May 3 (ticketmaster.com).
10 — The State History Fair at Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville will celebrate the Garden State’s 350th birthday. njhistoryfair.org
16 — He’s big, he’s green, he’s out of control and no, he’s not a really evil Kermit. He’s "Godzilla," in yet another reboot. godzillamovie.com
16-18 — The Jersey Shore Festival in Seaside Heights is two days of free music — rock, alternative, reggae and more. jerseyshorefestival.com
17-18 — There’s no sight on the horizon of a re-emergence of the Bamboozle, the massive event that once turned the Giants Stadium parking lot into the biggest music destination on the East Coast. But Skate and Surf, a smaller festival run by Bamboozle’s founder, will be back for its second year. Where? That’s to be determined. skateandsurffest.com
23-26 — Go fly a kite, and watch renowned kite builders and competitors, at the Wildwoods International Kite Festival. skyfestivals.com
24-25 — The Electric Daisy Carnival, the world’s biggest moving dance music party, skipped the Meadowlands in 2013 after a successful event in 2012. This year, it’ll be back at MetLife Stadium; expect many of the biggest names in electropop to make the trip. ticketmaster.com
30-June 1— Marcia Ball and Terrance Simien will be among the co-headliners of the 25th annual Crawfish Fest at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, though the Louisiana food for sale will be just as big an attraction. crawfishfest.com
31-June 2 — The Montclair Food & Wine Festival starts with a Grand Tasting at Montclair Art Museum and continues with gastronomic seminars. montclairfoodandwinefestival.org
6-7 — If you don’t know what a mummer is, find out as the Mummers Brigade Weekend in North Wildwood features two days of top mummers brigades from Philadelphia. northwildwood.com
7-8 — Barbecue and tunes meet at the Rock, Ribs & Ridges Festival at a Sussex County venue to be announced. The Outlaws, New Riders of the Purple Sage and Artimus Pyle will be among the performers. rockribsandridges.com
11 — The PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel annually embraces veteran rock acts. Journey and the Steve Miller Band have already announced that they’ll be leading the inevitable singalongs at the amphitheater in late spring. The tour also comes to the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, June 22. ticketmaster.com
20 — Broadway fave "Jersey Boys" finally gets the big-screen treatment, with Clint Eastwood directing. No singing along in the movie theater, please.
22-29 — The Princeton Festival kicks off the "Summertime" with Gershwin’s "Porgy and Bess" at the McCarter Theatre Center. princetonfestival.org
28 — Celebrate female musicians at the Ladies of Country & Bluegrass Music Show at Albert Hall in Waretown. alberthall.org
11-13 — The New Jersey State Barbecue Championship & Blues Festival in North Wildwood is three days of great blues, booze and BBQ down the shore. njbbq.com
25-27 — The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning takes flight at Readington’s Solberg Airport with more than 100 balloons, plus major musical attractions. balloonfestival.com
25 — By the holy head of Zeus, is it really time for another "Hercules" movie? Yes indeed, with Dwayne Johnson as the ripped demigod. mightyhercules.com
25-27 — A giant Ultimate Frisbee tournament kicks off in Wildwood with teams competing from around the country. wildwoodultimate.com
1 — The heroic "Guardians of the Galaxy" arrive in movie theaters, to gladden — they hope — the hearts of their truly committed comic-book fans. facebook.com/guardiansofthegalaxy
4-5 — Who says the music industry is incapable of developing a new stadium act? One Direction, the British-Irish boy band riding high on the success of "Best Song Ever," takes over MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford for two nights. ticketmaster.com
27-Sept. 14 — The Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven stages the showbiz spectacular "A Chorus Line." surflight.org
30-Sept. 1 — The BBQ & Craft Beer Fest fills Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport with mouth-watering ribs, chicken, pulled pork and brisket from top-flight pitmasters. monmouthpark.com.
20-21 — Jousting, sword-fighting and archery competitions highlight the annual Lakewood Lions Renaissance Faire, sponsored by the Lakewood Lions and the Society for Creative Anachronism. lakewoodrenfaire.com
26 — Remember TV’s "The Equalizer"? Well, the movie spin-off is finally here, with Denzel Washington playing the avenger.
3 — The never-boring David Fincher directs Ben Affleck in the big screen adaptation of the thriller novel "Gone Girl," the story of a woman who disappears on her anniversary.
21 — It’s countdown for Katniss as "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part I" begins to wrap up its world of teenage torment.
21-23 — Know any gamers? Playlist Live, a major video game industry event attended by game creators and fans, comes to the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus. playlist-live.com
25 — Sondheim, Streep and fractured fairy tales? "Into the Woods" promises a different sort of movie musical for grown-ups.
— Peter Genovese, Amy Kuperinsky, Jay Lustig, Tris McCall, Ronni Reich, Stephen Whitty