LIVINGSTON, NJ – At the 18th annual family festival held Saturday afternoon, Livingston residents showed that they wouldn't’t let a little bad weather get in the way of their good time. Due to rain, the family festival, originally scheduled to take place at the Oval, was moved inside Livingston High School. Despite the change of location, bouncy castles were still inflated, the Robotics Competition was still held, and children were still able to partake in the annual Chalk Walk.
Martha Ackerman, President of HCHY, said, “It’s the one time of year that the town celebrates its youth. As a parent, it’s a great opportunity for kids and their families to have fun.”
The games, activities, and contests of the family festival were spread out inside several different rooms and hallways inside Livingston High school.
Near the entrance of Livingston’s High School, the Robotics Competition was held. There, children showcased electronic inventions they constructed out of Legos. Michael D. LaSalle, a practicing urologic surgeon in Florham Park, said the Robotics Competition is all about supporting the community. “This competition allows the young participants to see the different types of technologies out there and to explore new areas of interest that they might want to pursue in the future.”
In a hallway that runs parallel to the new gymnasium, the annual Chalk Walk was held. This year’s Chalk Walk was held in memory of the late Ken O’Neill, founder of the Chalk Walk. Traditionally children would be invited to draw pictures in chalk along a stretch of pavement. Due to the inclement weather, however, that was not possible. The Bicentennial Committee instead laid out several large pieces of paper down on one of Livingston High School’s hallways. The children were asked to draw pictures based around the idea of community.
Inside the new gymnasium, games and bouncy rides were set up. Some of the large inflated rides included a castle, a pirate ship, and an elongated dragon. One town resident attending the event with her grandson said her grandson’s favorite part of the family festival was the bouncy rides. She said he had been waiting in anticipation of the bouncy rides for weeks.
In the old gym, lunch tables were set up. On each of the separate tables a different activity or display was held.
A display by Livingston’s Environmental Commission was set up on one of those tables. Here, children were invited to play a spin-the-wheel game. Pictures of various environmentally green activities, such as riding a bike or recycling, were taped to the edges of the wheel. The wheel would spin until a pointer would stop the wheel and point at a given picture. Children were then asked how the specific activity displayed on the picture could help the environment. After the children answered, they were given a prize.
“The spin-wheel game is a great way to get children to think about how they can help the environment,” said Gary Schwartz, chair of the Livingston Environmental Committee.
The family festival is sponsored by over 40 local businesses and organizations including the YMCA, Regal Bank, and St. Barnabas Medical hospital.
Ronnie Sevilla branch manager of Investors Bank said, “We’re very happy to be here. We just like to support the community and Livingston.”
Alan Karpas chair of HCHY was very appreciative of the sponsors. “Without the sponsors none of this would be possible. So we’re very thankful for them.”