MAPLEWOOD, NJ - It's been going on in Maplewood for over a hundred years and will go on for another hundred if the SOMA community has anything to say about it.
The 4th of July festivities here are among the oldest in the country, although the celebration has changed over the decades. The oldest record TAP could find was from the Newark Daily Advertiser dating July 8, 1898:
At one past midnight, they raised "Old Glory." The event was attended by "forty well-know local professionals and businessmen. The scene was illuminated by colored fire, the band played patriotic airs and all members joined in in the singing of the 'Red, White and Blue' and 'America.'"
Not exactly the casual, family friendly celebration we know today.
About a decade later, Maplewood saw the 4th of July as a chance to bring the community together, both young and old, to enjoy the fun and excitement of a day-long celebration of our nation's independence, including circus entertainment, exotic animals, live music and parades. The festivities remain similar today.
[Source: July Fourth Committee of the Maplewood Civic Association]
8:00am (7:00am registration): 7TH ANNUAL 4TH OF JULY 5K RUN
Start and Finish on Dunnell Road near Civic House (near 124 Dunnell Road). Participation requires separate registration and fee. Benefits CHS Cross-Country. Download the flyer here.
8:00am: JULY 4th OPENING CEREMONIES
8:15am: KIDS’ BIKES, ETC. PARADE
Steps off from Ricalton with everything you can push, pedal or pull; decorated red, white & blue; all ages.
9:00am: KIDS’ DASHES & RELAYS
Athletic field south of Oakview Ave.; 1st-2nd-3rd place ribbons. Dashes & Relays require registration. Forms available July 4 or at Libraries, Town Hall, online at SOM school websites, or right here.
10:00am–2:00pm: CHS ROBOTICS CLUB
Students display & demonstrate at Skate House.
10:00am: ART PROJECT
Participatory Community Pixel/Box ART PROJECT by John Kaufman; All Ages; sponsors: Memorial Post 10120 VFW & 1978 Arts Center. Ball Field south of Oakview Avenue, near Valley and Oakview. Download the flyer here.
11:00am: ICE CREAM EATING CONTESTS
In picnic area next to playground, sponsored and presented by Maplewood Rotary
11:00am: TENNIS CONTESTS
At Civic House tennis courts: fastest serve and most accurate serve; presented by Maplewood Recreation Tennis Program
11:30am: BAKING CONTEST
In Town Hall; all ages. Judging directed by Janet Crane. Baking Contest entries need to be at Town Hall between 9 – 9:30 a.m.
NOTE: that there is NO ENTRY to fireworks firing area after noon.
12noon to 3:00pm: KARAOKE
Presented by New Jersey DJ Services LLC in Athletic field south of Oakview Ave.
12noon to 3:00pm: ADULT SOFTBALL
In Athletic field south of Oakview Ave., ball field near Valley and Baker
12:00noon: KIDS’ PERCUSSION
In Athletic field south of Oakview Ave., presented by Ethical Culture Society and Children’s Music Network.
12:00noon: PET AWARDS SHOW
In front of Town Hall: All Types, All Sizes! with support from PetSmart. Emceed by Art and Willie Gartenlaub.
NOTE: that one tag per person is required for admission to the Circus or to concert/fireworks spectator area.
1:00pm. & 3:30pm & 6:00pm: ZERBINI FAMILY CIRCUS
Under the Big Top in Athletic field NORTH of Oakview. Rain or Shine! 1st Come, 1st Served! No Reserved Seats! SEATING IS LIMITED so line up early! Check them out here.
4:00pm to 9:00pm: LIVE MUSIC
On lawn in Athletic field south of Oakview Ave.; Performances until Fireworks. Picnic until fireworks: Ice cream vendor; Blue Plate Special handcrafted meals; Maplewood BSA Troop 5’s burgers, hotdogs, sodas. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in Maplewood parks.
9:00 pm: FIREWORKS
Come early! Times approximate. Parental discretion advised for small children and pets: consider viewing fireworks from a distance. Rain Date: July 5. (Circus and indoor events will be July 4, rain or shine).