BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - For the second time in as many years, the Berkeley Heights Street Fair was held as a celebration and exhibition of local businesses. Sponsored by the Suburban Chamber of Commerce and the Berkeley Heights Rotary Club, any local civic organization or merchant was invited to participate and display their goods and services.
The majority of the businesses were from within Berkeley Heights, although there were a few from various neighboring towns. Each business set up a tent along the strip of Springfield Ave. from Snyder Ave. to Plainfield Ave, which was shut down for the Street Fair between 10 A.M. and 5 P.M. These businesses included various art and craft sales, home repair services, and a plethora of food services serving on site. Live music performed by various groups and a “Kidz Shindig,” which included kid-friendly rides and activities, were also present at the Street Fair.
Although this was just the second time it has been held, the Street Fair is a very highly regarded event amongst many townspeople, including Councilman and Republican Mayoral Candidate Bob Woodruff. “I think this is a tribute to our store owners and to the people of our town, and people of surrounding towns, who come out on a day like this,” he explained. “We get a real sense of community and it lets people know what kind of town we have.”
Linda Sausville, former President of the Rotary Club and active member since 2006, explained that her group, along with many others who participated in the Street Fair, enjoys the exposure it allots to them. “We do a lot for the community. We sponsor events like the Street Fair, we co-sponsored with the Suburban Chamber of Commerce, and that we’re always looking for energetic people to be part of our service projects.”
Attendance at the Street Fair was significantly higher than last year’s event. Most attributed this to both the heightened awareness of the event in its second year, as well as the fantastic weather, which was not the case last year as rain became an issue much of the day. Woodruff noted this was met with a rise in the number of participating vendors. “Compared to last year, we have more booths, which is a good thing,” he said.
Cherri Pertesis, owner of Anything Floral, is one of the first-time participants that Woodruff was referencing. She noted her surprise at the high attendance of the event for just its second year, but also was glad that her services were being spread to the community. “There’s a lot of people here that didn’t even know what we carry, and we’ve been here twenty-one years. Just coming down is good exposure for us.”
The Street Fair is similar to events held in many neighboring towns, but Woodruff explained few others are set up in such a way as in Berkeley Heights. “We’ve been getting a lot of feedback from people in other towns, and one of the advantages we have is our parking is right next to a lot of what we’re doing, so it’s easier for people to see where these businesses are.”
Since the Street Fair is held in the business district of Berkeley Heights, many participants hold their booths very close to their building. Laura Grekoski, a marketing associate for Emergency Medical, a parent company for EMedical Offices, noted their participation was very beneficial for recognition of their office, which was located near their booth. “People last year weren’t familiar with our Center, and now they’re coming back and saying ‘Oh, you’re EMedical, that’s your offices.’ And next year we’re renovating, so it will be even better to have people walking through.”
The event has received overwhelming support from both community members and local businesses as a way to bring the two together in a mutually beneficial event for all involved.
Picture Credits: Suburban Chamber of Commerce and Kelly Deegan, Intern for TAP into Berkeley Heights; Slide Show Credits - Bobbie Peer