LIVINGSTON, NJ – Now in its 81st year, July 4th festivities at and around the Livingston Oval kicked off with long-standing traditions and sunny skies.
Scott Maynard, Livingston 4th of July Committee co-chair, acknowledged members of the color guard, veterans from various branches of the armed services, Mayor Shawn Klein and township council members during Opening Ceremonies, held, as per tradition, at Haines Memorial Pool at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
Maynard also acknowledged his co-chair Elliot Sherman and other members of the planning committee, as well as Livingston’s local police, fire department and first aid squad for their assistance in making the event a success.
In addition to Dr. Fred Friedman, who led those gathered in the Pledge of Allegiance, and VFW Vice Commander Brian Boyle, who led the crowd in a rendition of “God Bless America,” Deena Sweeney also took the stage as Livingston’s Opening Ceremonies’ veteran “Star-Spangled Banner” singer. Sweeney has belted out the National Anthem at the Livingston celebration for 22-consecutive years.
“When I think of Livingston, I think of Americana and all of the great things that Livingston does to celebrate America—from the Memorial Day Parade to July 4th,” said Klein. “This is a great day in our town with lots and lots of activities. We always get great attendance. We have thousands of people on the Oval for the fireworks. And this year the weather is cooperating so you just can’t ask for more.”
In welcoming area residents to the 4th of July Celebration, Klein was also enthusiastic about welcome incoming township manager, Greg Bonin, who will be starting in a few weeks. Klein said he thinks Bonham will “do great things for our town.”
Such staples as the annual car auto show, which displayed a record number of cars this year; free pony rides and games for kids, including the increasingly popular Pickleball; the Livingston Police Department Child ID program; the Lions Club vision screenings; and the annual behind-the-scenes history lesson about the Declaration of Independence given before its reading at the Gazebo by Colonel Peter Berkowsky USAF (ret.) gave Livingston residents a variety of ways to spend their holiday morning.
In the afternoon, kids ages eight and older had the opportunity to participate in the Wild & Wacky challenge—a hosted game show featuring relay races, pies in the face, prizes, getting slimed and other good old fashioned fun—and two age groups competed in the popular ice-cream-eating contest.
New additions to this year’s festivities included a game of Cricket, a pastime that has enjoyed a devoted base of Livingston players for the past 12 years. The Beer Café, introduced in more recent years, was also expanded this year to include wine.
Bands Punch the Monkey, No Discipline and Epic Soul were the featured performers at this year’s Beer & Wine Café and entertained attendees up until “pre-show” headliners, The Nerds, took the stage as the last event before the day crescendoed with a 20-minute fireworks display.
“Livingston had a perfect 4th of July this year,” said Klein. “Great activities including a fantastic car show, delicious food trucks, a festive beer garden, stuff for the kids, The Nerds playing the Oval and awesome fireworks. No one celebrates America like Livingston.”
The 81st Annual 4th of July Committee includes: Elliot Sherman and Scott Maynard (Co-Chairs), Liliana Branquinho, Judith A. Heller, Justin Escher Alpert, John DelBuono, Jennifer Walker, David Warner (Events Plus), Steve Lichtenstein, Jack Ackerman, Ron Valentine, Jacqueline Lowe and Debra Lombardi.
Sponsors this year included: RWJBarnabas Health, Regal Bank, CareOne at Livingston Assisted Living, ShopRite, Investors Bank, Livingston Lodge #11 Crasftsman's Club, Swede's Frozen Yogurt, Genius Gems, Goldfish Swim School, Livingston Bagel, Kiwanis International, Culligan, Events Plus, Bernheim Apter Kreitzman Funeral Chapel, Cycle Bar, Wine Legend, RW Esposito Construction, Northfield Pharmacy and Sam's Department Store.
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