LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston’s 83rd Annual 4th of July celebration was a sunny and fun-filled day for children and adults alike, where attendees were treated to entertaining activities such as the state’s largest 4th of July auto show, live music courtesy of several local bands and refreshments from various food trucks as well as the Bands, Beer & Wine Café.
Mayor Al Anthony said he was thrilled that the “4th of July celebration was a blast from beginning to end.” He noted that the weather was perfect once again—just like the rain-free days Livingston was “blessed with” for other recent event like the Memorial Day Parade, Bike Livingston and Livingston Summerfest, he added.
“Families had a great time at our swim carnival, auto show, rides, games, beer and wine garden, and food stands, all while hearing great bands and seeing an awesome fireworks display that was arguably the best ever in town,” said Anthony. “It just was so colorful, spectacular and vibrant, with no lulls sending everyone home happy to cap a terrific day.”
The mayor extended his gratitude to the Livingston 4th of July Committee, the event sponsors, township employees, the police and fire departments, the volunteer first aid squad and the Department of Public Works team for “a job extremely well done and yet another reason we live in such a great town.”
Scott Maynard, committee co-chair, said that he has “received many phone calls and texts from local residents congratulating the committee for making this the best Livingston July 4th Celebration in many years.”
“There were close to 10,000 people at the Oval as the sun set and bright lights from the stage enhanced the show,” said Maynard.
The all-day celebration kicked off with a Patriotic Ceremony at Haines Pool, featuring appearances from the American Legion, local Boy and Girl Scouts, Jewish War Veterans, VFW Ladies’ Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Livingston Township Council. Following the ceremony, swimmers of all ages jumped into the pool for the Livingston Kiwanis Club Swim Karnival, where kids received prizes in various relays and activities.
Investors Bank sponsored entertainment by DJ Chuck Russo while visitors wandered around the high school parking lot looking at the vintage cars featured in the 26th annual Classic Car Show and voted for their favorites. The Natural Glass Corvette Club helped with the organization of this year’s show, which was sponsored by Nielsen Dodge.
Trophies were awarded to the cars, trucks and motorcycles garnering the most votes. The 2019 Mayor's Trophy was awarded to a 1967 Camaro entered by Eddie Zuchowki of Pompton Plains, who is pictured above with his grandson, Roman, and the mayor.
According to Maynard, the auto show had a record-breaking 197 entries this year and that all of the children’s activities were “packed solid with participants.” Maynard also said that the crowd at the beer and wine café was so big that the space will need to be “significantly larger” next year.
Resident Amy Reisman and her 3-year-old daughter, Isabela, were among the many young families who enjoyed Thursday's activities—especially the fireworks, which Isabela said were "beautiful and so cool."
Some of the major highlights for the younger crowd included the Haagen Dazs ice cream eating contest, a swing ride, bouncy inflatables, a “Cars” slide, an inflatable obstacle course, pony rides (courtesy of Regal Bank), mini-golf and Connect Four (sponsored by Pyramid Fitness) and Powerhouse Studios’ Wacky Sports games and shows (sponsored by Cookie Cutters and ShopRite).
A vision screening sponsored by the Lions Club and a Child ID Program by the Livingston Police Department were also offered, and a dietician from Livingston ShopRite’s dispensed food samples and nutrition information.
Over at the Saint Barnabas Medical Center Community Field, Sanskriti of New Jersey and Cricket Exhibition held its annual 4th of July Cricket Exhibition, sponsored by Bernheim-Apter-Kreitzman Funeral Chapel and Quinn Hopping Funeral Home. Anthony, who threw out the first pitch, said that the entire council enjoyed learning more about the sport and playing in the exhibition match.
Beloved returning activities included the mobile video game theater, “Rolling Videos,” sponsored by Sacks Orthodontics; the “Fantastic Family Food Fest;” and the Bands, Beer & Wine Café, where people savored their food from Angelotti’s, Carmello’s Wood-Fired Brick Oven Pizza, Chef J Latin Dragon, Dani’s Kettle Corn, Dellano’s, Empanada Guy, Hoboken Cucina, House of Cupcakes, La Brasa, Mike’s Ice Cream, Soccer Chef Wagon, Suzy Que’s BBQ, The Hot Dog House, Tony’s Italian Sausage and more.
Thanks to the sponsorship of Brandywine Living of Livingston, three local bands entertained guests throughout the daytime activities, including “The Kootz,” “3 Mile Island Band” and “Punch the Monkey.”
Just prior to the 2019 Fireworks Spectacular, Saint Barnabas Medical Center and RWJBarnabas Health sponsored pre-fireworks musical entertainment by Bon Jovi tribute band, “Wanted DOA,” on the main stage.
“The crowd was rocking and rolling more than anything I’ve seen in the past,” said Maynard. “We delayed the start of the fireworks to keep the momentum. Finally, as Wanted DOA (who traveled from Boston to perform) concluded their performance, we asked Dena Sweeney to sing God Bless America with the crowd. At that point, we signaled the head of Pyrotechnics to push the button.
“The fireworks program, produced by Garden State Fireworks and sponsored by Summit Medical Group, was a full 20 minutes of continuous, fast-paced shelling that lit up the sky and shook the earth. It was truly a memorable day.”
In addition to co-chairs Maynard and Elliot Sherman, the Livingston 4th of July Committee is also comprised of Liliana Branquinho, Steve Lichtenstein, Judith Heller, Jack Ackerman, Justin Escher Alpert, Ron Valentine, John Del Buono, Ketan Bhuptani, Jennifer Walker, Debra Lombardi and David Warner of Events Plus.
Branquinho, who also serves as Livingston’s Program Supervisor of Senior & Adult Enrichment & Special Events, said she was thrilled with the turnout and feedback from those who attended.
“This year’s 4th of July celebration was an absolute success,” she said. “So far, we have been receiving very positive feedback from the community…
“We are very fortunate to have great support from our sponsors, the Township of Livingston, the DPW crew—who worked very hard that day with the set up and clean up at the end of the night—and the police and fire departments.”
Branquinho also said she was proud and grateful to be part of such an amazing group of volunteers, stating that Maynard and Sherman, guided the committee well. Despite the heat and the length of the outdoor event, Branquinho said everyone still enjoyed themselves because the committee was determined to make it an exceptionally fun celebration.
The committee also thanked Township Manager Barry Lewis, Police Chief Gary Marshuetz, Fire Chief Chris Mullin, First Aid Squad Captain Stacey Melhorn and DPW Superintendent Mike Anello for ensuring order and safety at the event.