Come downtown to the event that celebrates everything great about South Orange. 2011 is bigger and better than ever!

Kick off the weekend of festivities at SOPAC on Friday evening, June 10th at 7:30 PM with a free performance by the Lydia Johnson Dance Company (LDJ), where they will perform a special preview and hold a discussion of new and recent dances.

LJD will preview excerpts from both last season’s Untitled Bach and a new work set to boogie-woogie and blues piano by Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson, which  will be premiered in New York at The Ailey Theater on June 17 -19. Following a Q&A with choreographer Lydia Johnson and the 14 dancers, audience members will be invited onto the stage to learn a dance phrase with Company members.

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Rest up after the show and head downtown on Saturday at 1 PM when CSO kick’s off. The newly expanded Kid's Zone sports a bounce house and exciting new inflatables plus lots of fun games, arts and crafts, cool prizes at the Sparkhouse Prize Tent, and the huge Touch-A-Truck (real South Orange trucks to climb on and take pictures in).

The CSO Main Stage has homegrown talent featuring live music and dance performances. Maria Priadka’s Dancing Genies will be back on stage in addition to great local bands. The Baird will also showcase their classes, featuring tae kwon do and dance groups.

Baird Community Center/Pierro Gallery also will host a fun interactive art project where artist Michelle Loughlin, in collaboration with community members, will create in yarn and found objects a representation of the Rahway River located in South Orange. And, teacher Larry McKim will lead life drawing for children from 2 – 4 pm.

You can also shop at the Sloan Street Market, where local businesses, artists and crafters will offer their wares, then visit with organizations that make our community thrive.

Don't miss as MSSO holds the annual CSO/Town Hall Deli Sloppy Joe Eating Contest to crown a King or Queen of the Joe! It’s back and it’s going to be messier than ever. Contestants battle for the Golden Joe Trophy (and $100 Town Hall Deli gift certificate) in front of cheering crowds. Watch as they gorge to gain fame and fortune at 5:30pm at the Main Stage. Submit entries at Town Hall Deli, 60 Valley Street by June 3rd. How Joe can you go?

Our signature Community Supper feast returns from 6-8 pm with samples from many of South Orange’s finest restaurants. Come out to meet friends and neighbors and enjoy delicious treats al fresco style! Location: dine under the trees in our own Spiotta Park (corner of SO Avenue and Village Plaza). 

Community Supper Prices: advance sale: $12 adults / $8 kids under 10; day of event: $18 adults / $10 kids under 10. Advance discount tickets available at Kitchen a la Mode and The UPS Store.

New this year at CSO: The South Orange Village Department of Health is hosting their fifth annual free Health Fair for residents and families from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at the South Orange Fire House at 56 Sloan Street.

Screenings will be conducted to test eyes, blood pressure, spines, lung capacity, and hearing. In addition, blood donations (non-fasting), prostate screening, cancer education, domestic violence, nutritional information, information on reiki, and figure analysis will be offered. Parents: please bring your children; the Masons of NJ will furnish you a children’s identification kit. Free smoke alarms and radon test kits will be distributed. Kids can enjoy coloring books.

Main Street South Orange is very grateful to our sponsors and encourages you to patronize them: Allegiance Community Bank, HK Community Fund, Patch, Sparkhouse, Wells Fargo, UPS, SOPAC and PSE&G.

Visit www.celebratesouthorange.org for continuous updates and a full schedule of events.