MILLBURN, NJ – The Education Foundation of Millburn/Short Hills shut down Main Street for their first music festival and fundraiser of the year, ROCKTOBERFEST. The all-day event featured six bands with performances by three additional bands in the evening at the much-anticipated new Millburn restaurant, The Hills Tavern.
Millburn’s favorite acapella group, Soulfege, led the day’s music followed by rock band MoodRing, acoustic rock duo SunHill and Short Hills' sister duo, The Parkers, with guest performer and MHS student Robbie Aronson. Rappers Spliff Santana, Cheech Ortiz and Money Mood concluded the day portion of the event with alternative rock band Count to Ten.
An estimated 700 people attended the festival, not only enjoy the music of local bands but also to sample the food offerings by several Millburn restaurants that provided a variety of options for every palate. Bavarian inspired specialties from Chef Ehren Ryan of Common Lot included his wife Nadine’s family recipe for Semmelknoedel, an Austrian bread dumpling, just like Oma used to make.
Charlie Brown’s Fresh Grill added to the Rocktoberfest fare with kid-friendly hamburgers and chicken fingers but also brought a selection of fine wines and the highly esteemed Weihenstephaner Festbier, a beer made from the world’s oldest working brewery founded in 1040 A.D.
Eric Linehan’s Boxcar Bar and Grill, a popular restaurant in Short Hills, provided craft beer and the expertise of one of his bartenders, Santiago, to supervise the beer and wine tent. The Philly Pretzel Company of Livingston, Tinga Taqueria, Sakura and Moonshine rounded out the restaurant sponsors.
The day’s offerings also included several activities for the young ones too. Face painting, hair braiding and tattoos were among some of the activities in addition to shopping opportunities to purchase Millburn logo swag and Rocktoberfest custom designed tee shirts by Glenwood School fifth grader Riley Steifman.
“I would love to see Rocktoberfest be an annual tradition,” said Millburn Township mayor Ted Bourke. “ In fact, we should figure out a way to expand it to accommodate more people and businesses. This is an absolutely wonderful event!”
Education Foundation executive board members were working diligently for six weeks planning and executing its first music festival. Unsure of what to really expect, Rocktoberfest chairs Tom Cook, Sonali Ganti, Joanna Parker-Lentz, Micole Richter and Rumy Sidhu led the effort along with what seemed like an army of volunteers and sponsors that include several members of the Millburn Board of Education, Lou Pacifico of Tide Dry Cleaners, Dan Shea of Charlie Brown’s, Shannon Aronson and several other generous corporate sponsors.
“This is a lot of fun,” said Wyoming third grader Ariana Wilson, who came to the festival with her younger sister Savannah and her mother.
Millburn Township residents weren’t the only attendees. Cast members of The Producers, currently playing at the Paper Mill Playhouse, stopped by the festivities between their matinee and evening performances to take a break and meet with some of their fans.
“We heard about the music festival and thought it’d be fun to check it out,” said Broadway actor and cast member Scott Cote. “It’s a nice way to take a break.”
Several cast members; John Jeffords, Emily Jeanne Phillips, Kelly Peterson, Michael Biren, Jeffrey Johnson II, Tim Capodice and Brad Frenette joined Cote at the festival.
As the day began winding down, the crowd started to gather at The Hills Tavern where the three additional bands were getting prepped for even more music. Jazz band, The Steve Girardi Group, led the evening’s entertainment followed by Poet Section of Short Hills and indie rock band Christopher Watson (and group). About 100 people came to enjoy the “after hours” sounds in the new, upscale, family-friendly restaurant.
“It was great seeing so many of the Millburn community come out to support this wonderful fundraiser,” said Millburn Township deputy mayor Ian Mount. “The Ed Foundation put on a great event and they all should be very proud of their accomplishment.”
The fundraiser was a success in many ways. “We raised funds for Millburn/Short Hills schools today,” said Ed Foundation Communications Officer Micole Richter. “We hope we made people happy by bringing great music and food to our wonderful downtown.”
The next Ed Foundation event will be the Evening of Honor on Tuesday, November 15, 6:30 p.m. at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston, NJ. The 3rd Annual Evening of Honor will recognize three dedicated individuals: Sharon Cohen and Kim Moore, the co-creators of Caring Kids and newly retired Millburn High School Athletic Director Dr. Ted D'Alessio, who has served our district for 40 years.
To learn more about the Education Foundation of Millburn/Short Hills, please visit www.edfoundationmillburnshorthills.org.