LIVINGSTON, NJ – Although heat, humidity and gray skies loomed over the Livingston Oval for the township’s 82nd annual 4th of July Celebration, the rain held off, making it possible for thousands of area residents to enjoy the day and experience the dazzling 20-minute fireworks display that capped off a jam-packed day of sponsored events.
Drone video provided by Sheryl Starr, manager of Starr and Sky.
In keeping with tradition, the Opening Ceremonies at Haines Pool kicked off the day. Livingston 4th of July Committee co-chair Scott Maynard acted as master of ceremonies for the morning festivities, where he was joined by members of the color guard and local veterans as they lined the pool in full military dress. Represented groups included the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, VFW Ladies’ Auxiliary, Jewish War Veterans and the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America.
Deena Sweeney, who has been entertaining Livingston residents with her rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” for 23 years, was followed by VFW Senior Vice Commander Brian Boyle, who led the Pledge of Allegiance, as well as American Legion Commander Peter Brady and Jewish War Veterans Commander Roger Flaherty, who led the crowd in “God Bless America.”
"Good morning everyone and Happy July 4th to all,” said Mayor Ed Meinhardt. “It's an honor to be joined by my four fellow councilmen – Deputy Mayor Al Anthony and Councilmen Rudy Fernandez, Michael Silverman and Shawn Klein—all of whom have served as Mayor of Livingston. The joke is that when you say ‘The Mayor of Livingston,’ everybody turns around.”
Meinhardt offered special thanks to Liliana Branquinho and the entire 4th of July committee for working tirelessly to spearhead the coordination of the day, and also acknowledged Russ Jones, assistant town manager, who Meinhardt said has not missed a 4th of July celebration in Livingston in 45 years.
Before outlining the many events happening during the course of the day, Maynard added his thanks, acknowledging his co-chair Elliot Sherman, other members of the planning committee, Livingston’s township council, local police, fire department, first aid squad, Superintendent of Schools Christina Steffner and all of this year’s sponsors.
“I'd like to thank everyone for coming out and I encourage you to participate in all the great events we have today," said Meinhardt.
Such staples as the annual car auto show, celebrating its 25th year; free pony rides and games for kids; Pickleball; relay race fun for older kids; the annual ice cream eating contest; the Livingston Police Department Child ID program; the Lions Club vision screenings; and the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Gazebo by historian Colonel Peter Berkowsky USAF (ret.), gave Livingston residents a variety of ways to spend the holiday.
Sanskriti of New Jersey fielded a new favorite pastime at the Memorial Oval’s baseball diamond, where they showcased both the town’s diversity and the increasingly popular sport of cricket for the second year. The games played included an exhibition match during which the mayor and council learned the basics of the game from seasoned players of all ages.
"It's a great pleasure to have the township here to play cricket with us,” said Nilesh Mhatre, Sanskriti’s executive board member. “Thanks from Sanskriti and to Saint Barnabas, who is our sponsor."
The Bands, Beer and Wine Café, accompanied by a handful of food trucks that were stationed outside, featured performances by local bands Black Dog & Butterfly, PM Ryder and The Red Light Band. EPICSOUL, an 11-piece cover band led by Livingston resident Joe Burach, took the main stage just prior to the fireworks display.
Drone video provided by Will Pauwels.
The 82nd Annual 4th of July Committee included: Elliot Sherman and Scott Maynard (Co-Chairs), Liliana Branquinho, Judith Heller, Justin Escher Alpert, John DelBuono, Jennifer Walker, Alexander Sambuk, Steve Lichtenstein, Jack Ackerman, Ron Valentine, Ketan Bhuptani, Debra Lombardi and David Warner (Events Plus).
Sponsors this year included: Bernheim Apter Kreizman Suburban Funeral Chapel, CareOne at Livingston Assisted Living, Dignity Memorial, Events Plus, Harte Orthodontics, Investors Bank, Kiwanis International, Livingston Bagel, Livingston Lodge #11/Craftsman’s Club, Nielsen, Prestige Volvo, Quinn-Hopping Funeral Home, Regal Bank, Schumacher Chevrolet of Livingston, ShopRite of Livingston, Saint Barnabas Medical Center/RWJBarnabas Health, Summit Medical Group, Swedes Frozen Yogurt and Wine Legend.