Arts & Entertainment

Towacofest Rocks Towaco

Zach Matari performs at Towacofest Credits: Melissa Benno
Melissa and Juan Carlos Iturralde with their daughter Credits: Melissa Benno
Anthony Duke Claus Credits: Melissa Benno
Century 21 The Crossing team at Towacofest 2016 Credits: Hope White
Performing Arts Academy Credits: Melissa Benno
Zach Matari Credits: Melissa Benno
Zach Matari Credits: Melissa Benno
Zach Matari Credits: Melissa Benno
Zach Matari Credits: Melissa Benno
Sanmik Gifts Credits: Melissa Benno
Patriot Glasswerks Credits: Melissa Benno
LuLa Roe Credits: Melissa Benno
Silk colors Credits: Melissa Benno
Debbie's Doggie Delights Credits: Melissa Benno
Gooserock Farm Credits: Melissa Benno
Performing Arts Academy Credits: Melissa Benno
Brazilian jazz singer Elin Melgarejo Credits: Melissa Benno
3Tiger Martial Arts Credits: Melissa Benno
3Tiger Martial Arts Credits: Melissa Benno
3Tiger Martial Arts Credits: Melissa Benno
Last Flight Home Credits: Melissa Benno
Nicky Costabile Credits: Melissa Benno
3Tiger Martial Arts Credits: Melissa Benno

MONTVILLE, NJ – Despite chilly fall weather, Towacofest was well attended and fun for all, according to Towaco Civic Association President Kimberly Bott.

The Oct. 1 event featured Montville Township High School 2012 graduate Zach Matari, who played his John Lennon song-writing contest award-winning song “Up to You.”

 “It’s so great to be back in Towaco,” Matari told TAPinto Montville. “It’s great to see familiar faces.”

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Matari’s first original “Day One” EP premiered at number five on the iTunes R&B chart and was featured in the Top 100 overall on iTunes, according to Matari’s website. Matari said he has signed a record deal with Clippers Sounds.

Matari also performed “Cake by the Ocean,” “Killing Me Softly,” and “How Do I.”

MTHS graduate Anthony Duke Claus also performed at the festival, singing 50s and 60s hits, along with Broadway show tunes. Songs included “This is the Moment” from the musical Jekyll and Hyde, Barry Manilow’s “Even Now” and Bobby Rydell’s “Sway.”

MTHS School of Rock alumnus Nelson Moreno performed with his alternative rock band “Last Flight Home.” Their original songs included “No Luck for the Late” and “Rise and Fall.” The four-member band consisted of Moreno on guitar and vocals, Scott Buksbaum on bass and vocals, Evan Cohen on drums and Jon Lopatine on guitar.

Performing Arts Academy in Lincoln Park put on a show of dance and acrobatics. The girls flipped and jumped in formation. 3Tiger Martial Arts showed their talents breaking boards and flipping each other onto the pavement.

Nicky Costabile of Hillsdale played her own original songs while accompanying herself on the keyboards. Her songs included “Indecisive,” and “Beautiful Tragedy.” She later sang a duet with Matari of Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning.”

The soft sounds of Brazilian jazz singer Elin Melgarejo also entertained the audience.

To see a compilation of the day's entertainment and performances, click: 

Shoppers could find many items to choose from at the array of more than 100 vendors at the festival. Lula Roe offered fashions, Silk Colors offered indigo-dyed rayons and silks, and Sanmik Gifts featured lush plants. Debbie’s Doggie Delights sold hand-made dog biscuits, and Montville’s own Gooserock Farm offered honey treats. Jewelry, kitchen items and stained glass were just a few of the items for sale.

Montville Township civic groups such as the historical society and area churches also greeted residents.

The kids had their own area with bounce houses, kiddie rides and Re/Max offering pumpkin painting.

Great food included Maryland crab cakes, gyros, shih kabobs, Italian sausage and Philly cheese steaks.

Melissa Iturralde and her husband Juan Carlos brought their young daughter out to enjoy the rides.

Karen Gasbar drove out with her father from Passaic to enjoy a daddy-daughter day.


“The live music is nice,” she said. “I’m enjoying the weather – it doesn’t bother me. I bought a dog harness and some scissors and I’m enjoying Last Flight Home. My father is trying waffle fries for the first time and he loves them.”

Rich Linstedt and his friend Linda Monik drove out from Mount Arlington because they enjoy seeing the musicians, they said.

“We cruised the vendors,” Lindstedt said.

Towaco resident Judy Rosen said she loves to attend Towacofest every year.

“It’s so nice to have Towacofest in our town,” she said. “I look forward to it every year. I come for the music. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go get a crab cake!”

The Towaco Civic Association would like to thank the sponsors of Towacofest: Century 21 Wessex Realty and Montville Financial Group.

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