Arts & Entertainment

Rubber Ducky Festival Brings Local Businesses and Organizations Together

Kayla's Creative Art Studio participates in the Rubber Ducky Festival on May 31. Credits: Eli Scheinholtz
The "new" Pete's Place Family Restaurant BBQ. Credits: Eli Scheinholtz
The Primrose School opening in July was the Premiere Sponsor of theRubber Ducky Festival. Credits: Eli Scheinholtz

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - “It brings everyone together, and does it in a different way” Sheri Levine-Shea, founder and owner of Kayla’s Creative Art Studio, said of the eleventh annual Berkeley Heights Rubber Ducky Festival. The Festival is one of the main community outreach programs for local businesses, giving them an opportunity to not only give back to the community, but also to promote their brand.

“We want people to know that there is a local business in town that is here to provide an all-family alternative,” Ms. Levine-Shea said of her goals in involvement with the Festival. For new businesses such as Kayla’s Creative Art Studio, a relaxed art class that includes everything from birthday parties to lady’s nights out (21+), the Festival is a tremendous opportunity to connect with the community.

A wealth of Berkeley Heights businesses, both upstarts and mainstays, set up tents at Passaic River Park and gave out information on what their services provide. Businesses that supported the Festival, which is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Berkeley Heights, included restaurants, banks, aftercare services, and many more.

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For new businesses in the community, the Festival has become one of the premiere opportunities to both become more involved as well as promote their services to residents. 

“We want to get the message out to the residents in town that we’re not just yogurt, but we also have dynamite food,” Steve Guastamacchia, owner of Pete’s Place said amongst the savory smell of their grilled food being served to residents. It was the first appearance for Pete’s Place—the restaurant portion of Yogoccino—at the Festival, but will certainly not be their last. “I like to get very involved in the community, which enables the community to be very aware of the product we sell.” 

Nancy Kovacs, school director of Primrose School and another first-time supporter and the premiere sponsor of the Festival, also expressed excitement with the promotional capabilities of such an event. “I want people to know we’re here, and that we have the best there is to offer for early childhood education.” Ms. Kovacs said her school looks forward to participating in more community outreach programs following their opening in July.

While the Festival is a tremendous resource for some of the newer businesses, it is also valuable to those that have been involved in the community for many years in being about to reinvigorate clientele.

Prudential New Jersey Properties, which will become Berkshire-Hathaway Home Services effective June 24, has had a tent at all of the Festivals to date, but still finds it to be a great way to continue to promote its brand.

“We love doing these localized events. It’s the best way to get in front of people. The most important thing in real estate is to touch as many people as possible,” explained Prudential real estate agent Stuart Thayer.  “And hopefully they’ll come back and buy a house from us!”

For businesses both old and new, the Rubber Ducky Festival has become an integral asset in promoting their brand and coming together in supporting the community.

Rubber Ducky Festival sponsors include: Primrose School of Berkeley Heights, Summit Medical Group, Investors Bank, The Alternative Press, Door Boy and Taylor Rental.

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