Arts & Entertainment

Livingston Car Show, Performance by the Nerds and 80th Anniversary Fireworks Spectacular Attract Record Numbers Despite Rain

Nerds Fans Brave the Rain at the Fireworks Credits: Jackie Schatell
Fun at the Fireworks Credits: Jackie Schatell
Car Show Credits: Genevieve Moran
Fireworks Fans Credits: Jackie Schatell
Car Show Credits: Genevieve Moran
Jay Isherwood and Mike Zakkour at the Fireworks Credits: Jackie Schatell
Car Show Credits: Genevieve Moran
Pony Rides Credits: Genevieve Moran
Pony Rides Credits: Genevieve Moran
4th of July Fun Credits: Genevieve Moran
Pony Rides Credits: Genevieve Moran
Pony Rides Credits: Genevieve Moran
Pony Rides Credits: Genevieve Moran

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Despite sporadic showers in the evening, the 80th Anniversary Livingston 4th of July Celebration experienced record attendance at both its Classic Car Show and ice-cream eating contest, ran out of beer a half-hour prior to last call and displayed the full fireworks program without a hitch.

When this year’s entertainment, “The Nerds,” began its set just before 8 p.m., 4th of July Committee Co-chairs Scott Maynard and Liliana Branquinho estimated nearly 7000 people at the Livingston Oval. Although some cleared out, the Nerds were able to complete their set and the majority of the audience remained until the end.

The fireworks company, Garden State Fireworks, was able to display its entire show as well. Maynard said this is only the second time the committee recalls having the program in the rain.

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“The fireworks program was actually a great show,” said Maynard. “The rain did not create any problems with the shots. The crowd that stayed in the park for the fireworks thinned to about 3000 people—they got to see a high-quality show and we heard many comments that it was a great performance.”

When Garden State Fireworks arrived at the park around 2 p.m., the sun was shining and the entire show was set up. According to Maynard, the rule is that once the shells are out of their boxes, there is a commitment to shoot them off.

The daytime activities had record turnouts for the majority of events: the Classic Car Show had 148 cars; the ice-cream eating contest, sponsored by Swedes Frozen Yogurt, had 126 constants; and the Band and Beer Café, run by the Livingston Masonic Order, ran out of beer by 7 p.m.

In the three years since the annual Bands and Beer Café event began, this is the first time beer has run out. Next year, the committee intends to order additional beer. It was also suggested that wine be added to the menu.

Livingston Mayor Al Anthony said the car show and swim carnival were better than ever, with nearly 100 scouts at the swim carnival as the Township Council honored those who fought for the country’s freedom and those who continue to fight to maintain it today.

"The 4th activities were fun for the whole family,” said Anthony, who attended with his wife and four kids. “The rides, contests and food were all terrific in the middle of the day, as well as our third year of the beer garden, which continues to be a big hit.”

Anthony happily took a picture in the driver’s seat of the winner of this year’s “Mayor’s Trophy” at the Classic Car Show in the Livingston High School parking lot. The winning car was a 1971 Pontiac LeMans, owned by Jerry Castrogiavanni of Rockaway.

As a result of the highly successful Food Truck Festival held on June 11, there were also nearly two-dozen food trucks that participated in the July 4th program at the Memorial Oval on Monday.

“The highlight this year was the Nerds and the fireworks as usual, despite the rain,” said Anthony. “The people who stayed after the rain had started were treated to a real rock-concert atmosphere as people came close to the stage and danced the night away.”

The performance by the Nerds, one of New Jersey’s most popular cover bands, was sponsored by Saint Barnabas Medical Center. Margie Heller, Administrative Director of Community Health and Outreach at RWJBarnabas Health and a longtime Nerds fan, said Saint Barnabas Medical Center was proud to sponsor the Livingston 4th of July Celebration—especially The Nerds.

“It was wonderful to 
see so many families come together and enjoy the events throughout the day, even under the rain,” said Heller. “We are so proud to be a part of the community.”

The Nerds performance began 10 minutes early in anticipation of the rain and the Fireworks Spectacular, sponsored by Summit Medical Group, went off immediately following.

Other sponsors of this event included: Wigder Chevrolet, Wine Legend, Investors Bank, ONYX, Events Plus, Swede’s Frozen Yogurt, Livingston Lodge #11 Craftsman’s Club, Bernheim Apter Kreitzman Suburban Funeral Chapel, Harte Orthodontics, Likewear, Livingston Bagel, Regal Bank and CareOne at Livingston Assisted Living.

“The fireworks were spectacular afterward,” said Anthony. “It was another awesome day to celebrate our country's birthday and renew all of our patriotism. Livingston knows how to celebrate." 

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