BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Berkeley Heights hosted its first-ever street fair on Sunday. Vendors, merchants, artists, musicians, and local and state businesses and guests all lined up on Springfield Avenue to partake in the event, sponsored by the Rotary Club and the Suburban Chamber of Commerce.
If you were to walk down the main avenue that runs through Berkeley Heights, around 10 a.m., you’d notice one thing and one thing only: Springfield Avenue was in commotion. Tents were set up on either side of the street and local businesses, vendors, and other groups were showcasing their products. People were crowded together in the streets, looking for the next place to stop by. Kids ran up and down trying to decide where to go next. And their parents tried to keep up.
Near the intersection of Springfield and Snyder avenues, by Walgreens, at the end is where most of the kids could’ve been found after a certain hour. Bouncy houses, a rock wall, and mechanical rides attracted kids of all ages. There were also carnival games such as the test of strength (where kids win a variety of prizes, including sand art), tattoo stations for kids, and a petting zoo that also brought along ponies for those that were brave enough to ride.
Music could be heard from all the way from the end of Springfield Avenue. Various groups got up to perform throughout the day, including Reunited, Diverse, the Paul Gargiulo Band and the Chatham Brass band.
In terms of food, there was anything that you could possible want from Chinese food, burgers, fast food, sweets such as funnel cakes, ice cream, baked goods such as cookies and brownies and more. Vendors sold anything from collectible items to clothing, jewelry, hats, decorative house items, handmade decorations, and kids' toys. Some businesses also gave coupons for their services, such as Massage Envy, which gave away coupons for their introductory massage class.
Some of the businesses and organizations included Massage Envy, Yogoccino, Prudential NJ Properties, RE/MAX, the Berkeley Heights Rescue Squad, the Berkeley Heights Democratic Committee, Smith Chiropractic, the Berkeley Heights YMCA, Peak Medical, Pearly Whites, and many others.
“We got together with the mayor and promotional people in early spring,” said Joe Steiner, president of the Suburban Chamber of Commerce. “We had to get permission from the town council in early May to make sure this was going to happen.”
“We have a lot of groups here today. We have local groups, the environmental commission, and we have insurance companies, non-profits. You name it, it’s out here today,” Steiner said.
“We also have other businesses from farther areas who just want to make friends with the Berkeley Heights community,” Steiner said. “So far, we see that people seem to like the fair. So it may become an annual event.”
Cissy Gianlanella, of J.C. Promotions Inc, also spoke about the size of the vendors at the event.
“We have over 100 businesses here,” she said. “They are here selling merchandise, arts and crafts, collectibles, and so much more. We also have games here for children,” she said. “And we have live entertainment, in the form of a free concert,” Gianlanella said.
“Over 25 local civic organizations work with the exhibitors as well,” she said. TheAlternativePress.com was one of seven primary sponsors of the fair.
“We really do hope that next year we get more sponsors to defray the cost to run the event,” she said. “We hope to come back next year and we’re happy that these local merchants have a place to showcase their products.”