MADISON, NJ - This year would have marked the 46th anniversary of Madison's Bottle HIll Day. However, during their meeting on June 16, the Madison Downtown Development Commission (DDC) voted to cancel its annual street festival,originally scheduled for Saturday, October 3, 2020, due to the ongoing health concerns and uncertainty around potential restrictions on large gatherings associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
"At this time, the risks and challenges are too great to effectively plan and carryout an event of this size", they determined.
Bottle Hill Day is a fundraiser for the DDC to help support, maintain, beautify and market the Madison's commercial district. The commissioners unanimously agreed that any financial benefit is far outweighed by current health and safety concerns, they said. If restrictions allow, the commission has stated that they will consider a much smaller celebration of the Madison business community this fall.
“It is unfortunate that our favorite town-wide day of the year, Bottle Hill Day, has to be canceled this year. However, by now, we all know that gathering in large crowds, elbow-to-elbow, even if outside, is not a good idea during this unprecedented pandemic", said DDC Chair, Suzy Whitehorn. "Please rest assured that as soon as New Jersey’s relaxes its limits more on the number of individuals that are allowed at outdoor gatherings, we hope to plan a smaller-scale event to celebrate Madison. It takes time to plan a large event and the planning cannot begin until the restrictions are further relaxed but a new event will be well publicized when it is permitted. In the meantime, we are hoping that everyone stays safe and healthy. Before we know it, we will all be safely enjoying a wonderful Madison street fair together and we cannot wait! “
According to the DDC, their objective is to promote economic growth and business development so that Madison’s beautiful downtown continues to thrive. Bottle Hill Day was created in 1974 by Mayor Elizabeth Baumgartner to promote the business district. The name originated from Madison’s original establishment in 1715 of the village called “Bottle Hill”. The event has grown exponentially over the last decade with over two hundred vendors participating annually and drawing between 10,000 and 20,000 people to the heart of Madison each fall for this beloved community celebration.
Bottle Hill Day has evolved over the years into a family-oriented entertainment event with music featuring live music on four stages, amusements, and the DDC Beer Garden.
"Bottle Hill Day is quintessential Madison", said DDC Vice Chair Eric Range. "This day takes hundreds of hours to plan and execute in the weeks and months before the first weekend in October. While we are no less a community in 2020, protecting that community must be our number one goal. There remain too many questions around how to begin planning an event of this nature given current health guidelines and the unknowns of what the months ahead will bring. I look forward to fall 2021 when we can all hopefully once again safely return and enjoy a day of music, amusements, community, and, of course, a beverage at the beer garden.",
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