July 3, 2014 at 8:00 PM
MONTVILLE, NJ - A menagerie of colored lights speckled across Montville’s High School and Library parking lots the weekend of June 26 through 28. Held before a backdrop of perfectly clear skies and warm weather, Montville’s Fourth of July festivities are being hailed as a success by the townspeople. The carnival went off without a hitch, and was packed to the brim with eager kids and parents partaking in the many rides, attractions, and foods.
There was a distinct scent of powdered sugar and just about anything that could be fried lingering over the grounds as citizens flocked to the celebration. Montville Township Independence Day Celebration Committee President Vincent Maffucci showed pride to see so many organizations participating and donating their time to the event.
“I think we have a great lineup of entertainment,” Maffucci said, citing the many musical acts, chiefly the two-and-a-half-hour British Invasion show on Friday, as well as the fireworks show on Saturday that was choreographed with music.
Thus, it remains that the fireworks are Montville’s number one attraction, drawing crowds in from neighboring towns to intermingle with local citizens. After some technical difficulties, the fireworks truly went off with a bang. Montville Township High School alumnus Bart Surdyka, who currently attends Seton Hall University, spoke with TAP after the show. He said the fireworks made him feel “really good” and “worry free.”
“When the show finally got started, I saw that Montville is strong and able to kick back and redeem itself,” Surdyka said. “I hope that Montville’s fireworks will live on for years to come.”
Crowds assembled on the field and awaited the show with hushed reactions. A prerecorded speech from Mayor Don Kostka thanked sponsor Lakeland Bank as well as many townspeople who were instrumental in the firework’s happening, including but not limited to the police and fire departments. Eventually the speakers erupted into patriotic tunes, following a countdown from ten. The crowd counted away with Mayor Kostka and waved light sticks rhythmically in the air.
An inability to broadcast a message declaring technical difficulties left the audience confounded, but after about a 45 minute delay, the fireworks show resumed as originally planned.
"Technical difficulties with fireworks and music happen. The new 4th of July Committee volunteers did not have a PA system to accommodate the change in layout, and they were not getting real time info from the fireworks vendor,” a Celebration Committee member commented. “Adjustments will be made, so that's not going to happen next year, but we know the delay combined with the lack of communication created more than just an inconvenience for the patrons which was unfortunate and regrettable."
Despite the absence of a carnival in 2013, the Celebration Committee worked together in conjunction with sponsor Lakeland Bank to fund the event this year.
“We met periodically since last summer, and then recently we really stepped it up,” Maffucci said. “It was amazing to see how many folks dedicated their time and energy over many months to make this a successful event. The volunteers are your friends and neighbors. Montville Township dedicated a lot of resources to support the planning and execution, as well. Several of the volunteers are actually township employees that volunteer their personal time.”
The results are a carnival marked by smiles and happy faces. The Celebration Committee hopes to have an even better celebration next year, when the parade is expected to return.
Click here to read the full Thank You letter from the Celebration Committee.