LIVINGSTON, NJ — In celebration of the West Essex YMCA’s 50th anniversary in Livingston and the many lives it has touched over the last five decades, the Y is hosting a free community event for members and area residents as a thank you for their support and partnership throughout the years.

The anniversary event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the grounds of the YMCA, located at 321 S. Livingston Avenue.

“We have planned an afternoon of fun and celebrating with the goal of bringing together our members and the wider community to celebrate this milestone and our deep partnerships with townships of West Orange, Caldwell, Roseland and Livingston,” said Helen Flores, executive director of the West Essex YMCA. 

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The event will kick off with remarks from local officials, including Essex County Freeholder Pat Sebold, representatives from Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill’s office and Livingston Mayor Al Anthony. Former mayor and longtime YMCA member Steve Santola will emcee the event.

Throughout the afternoon, attendees will have their choice of a variety of activities and attractions plus two live music performances on the lawn of the YMCA and a light buffet supper.

Performers include the Somerset Brass Quintet, known for classical and classics to suit all tastes, and Xan Louis, known locally for his command of soul, blues, funk and pop tunes. 

Younger guests will enjoy crafts, an outdoor petting zoo, pumpkin decorating and a special "swim with the pumpkins" at the YMCA’s indoor pool. 

Guests seeking more action can participate in an indoor obstacle course fashioned after the popular television show “American Ninja Warrior” as well as a free-throw basketball contest. The winner of the free-throw contest will receive a free one-year family membership to the YMCA, valued at $1,000.

Additionally, local artist Brian Convery will lead guests in a mural-painting project to commemorate the YMCA’s half-century milestone. The mural will remain on display at the YMCA as a permanent art feature.

“The West Essex YMCA has been serving the community for 50 years and we look forward to the next 50 years of service to Essex County,” said Richard K. Gorab, president and chief executive officer of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges, who will present final remarks during the event alongside Flores.

Several long-standing friends of the West Essex Y, including Saint Barnabas Medical Center, the Kiwanis Club of Livingston, the West Essex YMCA Board of Managers and the staff of the West Essex YMCA, are also supporting the event.

To register for the anniversary celebration, visit the YMCA website or call the YMCA front-desk at 973-992-7500.