LIVINGSTON, NJ – Thanks to the nearly 4,000 people who attended Livingston’s SummerFest Food Truck and Music Festival, more than $20,000 in proceeds will benefit charities supported by co-hosts Livingston Sunrise Rotary, Livingston Rotary and Livingston PBA Local #263.
The large turnout of the daylong event caused the more than a dozen trucks to run out of food early as the live music, fishing derby, Haines Pool Open House, craft fair, pet adoption and children's activities like bouncy rides and games plus the new addition of a Beer and Wine Garden kept the crowd entertained for hours.
“The bands were great and the food trucks were happy to run out of food due to constant lines throughout the day,” Monte Ehrenkranz from the Livingston Sunrise Rotary Club. “We could not have put the event together without the support of Mayor Al Anthony, the town council, [Township Manager] Barry Lewis and especially DPW and our sponsors. The Livingston Rotary Clubs were happy to partner and work together with the Livingston’s PBA members, and we look forward to making next year even better.”
PBA Officer Sean Whalen was also thrilled with the turnout despite a small hiccup with the PBA Fishing Derby at Littell’s Pond just prior to the event.
“It’s a free event for the kids, so regardless of the fish that died, some fish were still caught and our people improvised really well and prizes were given out—I think every kid that caught a fish received a prize,” said Whalen, who explained that an issue with the fountain at the center of the pond had caused the death of about two-dozen fish and one turtle in the days leading up the event. “It could’ve been worse, so I think everyone did a nice job out there doing the best they could…We’ll just have to do it bigger and better next year.”
In addition to the sunny weather, the addition of the beer and wine garden and the five hours of live music, Whalen noted that the success of the event was also due in part to the change in location from the Livingston High School parking lot to the grassy area near the gazebo at the Memorial Oval. The new location made the event more visible and accessible to people, he said, and provides more seating space while also allowing guests to bring their own blankets and chairs.
“The SummerFest was great; we had a large turnout and we had a great lineup of bands and food trucks and beer tent and people were more than satisfied,” said Whalen, adding that there has been a lot of positive feedback from the community. “We’re trying to get up to that 20 food truck mark if not more for next year, which should give more options obviously and maybe lessen the lines…We should also try to get the beer garden in front of the stage next year, but that’s easily fixed.”
Some standout moments from the event included a live performance from Treehouse Mania, a cover band comprised of five local middle school students; more than 25 crafts and vendor tables; an Open House event occurring simultaneously at the Haines Community Pool; Entertainment on Wheels activities; a visit from a life-like dinosaur named Par-T-Rex; and a pet adoption.
Other bands in the lineup included: The Tash Brothers Band, which mixes classic blues and rock tunes in with some originals; Midnight Sun, a popular Grateful Dead Tribute Band; and Screaming Broccolli, known throughout Staten Island and New Jersey for their cover performances of top hits from the 80s, 90s and today.
Mayor Al Anthony, who stayed until the end to enjoy the live finale performance by Screaming Broccolli, enjoyed himself so much that he joked to Whalen about wanting to host an event like this every month.
"Summerfest was one of the highlights of the year," said Anthony. "I'd like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Festival Committee, Livingston Rotary Clubs and PBA, as well as our DPW, police, fire, first aid and all the town employees and sponsors who played a part in this wonderful event.
"In particular, I'd like to thank Monte Ehrenkranz, Livingston Chamber of Commerce President and our Business Person of the Year, for approaching the council with the idea of ramping up our previous Summerfest. With new ideas such as moving the event to the Oval, inflatable rides for kids, fantastic bands and music and a one-day beer and wine ordinance, the event was very much revamped and electrified.
"Adults and children had a great time, as it was a real family event and provided fun the whole day. By the end of the day, which no one wanted to see end, over $20,000 was raised that will help the Livingston PBA and the Livingston Rotary Clubs continue to financially support people and organizations in need throughout the Livingston community and the world at large."
Whalen added that once the dust settles and the funds are totaled, the Livingston PBA and the two Rotary Clubs are looking to make a large group donation to one worthy cause that has yet to be determined.
This year's food trucks included:
- Bab Station (Korean BBQ )
- Carlito’s Taco (Mexican BBQ)
- Ca’s Pierogi & Kielbasa
- Del Toro (Tapas)
- Do Boy (Cookie Dough and Cake Pops)
- Empanada Lady
- Glazed and Confused (Mini Donuts)
- Kona Ica
- La Braza
- Latin Bites (Puerto Rican & Cuban)
- Pie Oh My (Pizza)
- Sip & Swirl (Ice Cream)
- Soccer Chef Wagon
- Surf and Turf
- Torta Truck (Mexican)
- Glaze Kitchen (Caribbean)
- Kettle Korn
Event sponsors included:
- Regal Bank
- Joseph A. Magotch, DDS
- Haven Savings Bank
- Saint Barnabas Medical Center/RWJBarnabas Health
- PIP Marketing Signs Print
- The West Essex Tribune
- Schumacher Chevrolet Auto Group
- Sacks Orthodontics
- Jeff Lake Camp
- Livingston Family Orthodontics
- Mission Fitness
- Columbia Bank
- JAG-One Physical Therapy
- Songs For Seeds
- The Silverstrom Group
- My Gym
- Mr. C. Fence
- Riverside Oral Surgery
- Wine Legend
- Jeanne Pierre
- Freireich LLC Attorney at Law
- Levine, Jacobs and Co.
- Allan Feid, Jr. LLC Plumbing and Heating
- Phase Associates LLC
- Jack Ackerman
- Eastman Companies
- Cedar Hill Golf & Country Club
- Cotton & Jewels
- Ingelmoor Rehabilitation & Care Center
- Livingston Chiropractic & Rehab
Next up for Livingston’s family-friendly summer events is the 83rd Annual July 4th Celebration at the Memorial Oval. The event kicks off at 9 a.m. with the largest Auto Show in New Jersey and will feature a swim carnival, cricket game and exhibition, free pony rides, Declaration of Independence reading, nine-hole Mini Golf, Connect 4 game; Powerhouse Studios Kids ‘N Motion and Twisted Sports, kids' ice cream-eating contest and more.
Amusement rides, food trucks, an afternoon beer & wine café featuring four bands will also be available. Main stage entertainment, courtesy of Wanted: DOA, begins at 7:45 p.m., followed by the annual fireworks spectacular.
View the full schedule of events, sponsors and more information at livingstonnj.org/July4th.