BAYONNE, NJ - Organizers of the Bridge Arts Festival will know as early as next week whether the annual event – scheduled for September. 12 – will take place in person or be replaced by a virtual festival instead.
“We’re holding out as long as possible that we can proceed with some version,” said Cheryl Mack, the festival’s co-founder. “We’re optimistic, but it must be determined by what health officials tell us. When COVID seemed to be going down in the tri-state area, we thought we were going to pull it off. But seeing the trends taking place elsewhere in the country, we know we have to be careful.”
The Bridge Arts Festival was conceptualized by Cheryl Mack and her husband Christopher Mack as a way to reduce the distance that local residents have to travel in order to enjoy quality arts entertainment. Established in 2017, the Bridge Arts Festival is a 3-day celebration of arts, music, and culture in Bayonne featuring two stages of entertainment, one for musical performances and one for dance and theatre performances.
The festival also contains an artist vendor market, a free kids craft corner, a food truck row, and a beer garden. In addition to the annual Bridge Arts Festival, the organization hosts a variety of events throughout the year to bring quality arts and educational programming to Bayonne including monthly art exhibitions and weekly Art in the Park events.
Although performers are lined up, they are on hold until a decision is made on allowing crowds to gather, Mack said. “We’re checking with local officials on a regular basis, and we need to see if the governor sets any deadlines.” Currently outdoor gatherings are capped at 500 people and must maintain social distancing practices.
“When this pandemic started, we adapted and created the sofa series,” Mack said, adding that it offered residents a chance to appreciate the arts virtually. They also launched a drive-in movie series that allows people to attend events in the parking lot and still be safe. The movies are shown every Saturday at 177 Avenue A, with gates opening at 7:30 p.m. Musicians perform live before the movie starts.
The series, Mack said, is made possible through the support of Larken Associates and Gallium Capital who donate the parking lot space.
“Although the pandemic has changed many things about the way our organization operates and the types of events we can offer, we remain unwavering in our mission to bring quality arts and entertainment directly to the residents of Bayonne,” said Mack.
Tickets for the drive in movie series can be purchased here and are $25 per car with a VIP admission price of $40 per car for reserved parking. Face coverings are required when outside their vehicles. Four people will be allowed per car or two adults and small children.
- August 8: “The Sandlot”
- August 15: “The Return of the Jedi”
- August 22: “The Mayor and "Jane"
- August 29: “The Lion King”
Student films sponsored by the NJ Young Filmmakers’ Festival will also be show each Saturday prior to the feature film.
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