MONTCLAIR, NJ - Saturday, kicked off the third annual Welcome to Walnut Street Festival. Jam-packed and fun filled, the sidewalk fair was lined with everything from store vendors offering tasty treats, to yoga instructors teaching toddlers on big mats, to musicians playing live music.

The YMCA of Montclair was one of the sponsors of the event. Dawn McFadden said, “Every year we hold a healthy kids day. It’s a national Y event to help families be active and healthy. Last year we had a table but this year we had a large grassy area which was really great!”

Alan Smith, singer songwriter of The Porchistas, who lives a block or so away, sang to the children with as much emotion and creativity as if he were putting on a show at Madison Square Garden.

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The YMCA hosted fun games, yoga classes, and activities for this community-building event. Raeann, photographer for the YMCA said this was her second year. Raeann said, “I work at the arcade at the YMCA. When parents work out, they drop their kids off with me. It’s a lot of fun. I also really love this outdoor event.”

Children, laughter, a bright sunny day and so many activities to choose from, are typical of the first Saturday of May in Montclair.  Although many of the vendors had been there before, some were first timers. Dave Marius, manning a stand that sold socially conscious, ethically sourced organic products, said this was his first time at Walnut Street. When asked about his products, Marius said “Our products help support women’s cooperatives which contributes to empowering women in Africa.”

Sumana Rangachar representing New York Life in Saddle Brook, offered free face painting to children and a wheel of fortune with prizes abounding.

Meanwhile Samantha Cordon, dog trainer from neighboring Glen Ridge, offered puppy passersby’s doggy treats.

Lisa Korn, Educational Director for Playhouse Cooperative Nursery in West Orange was with her daughter Hannah, representing their school, which was established in 1951. Korn joked that her grown daughter was an alumni of the Nursery School.

Laurie Glas, was with her daughter Natalie, facilitating activities for younger children. Glas said, “speaking as a mom who's daughter has been on the YMCA of Montclair swim team for 5 years, I’m happy that we are able to help out in promoting healthy habits for kids.”