Arts & Entertainment

Plainfield Revives Popular Latino Festival

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From the September 2012 celebration Credits: Bernice Paglia
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PLAINFIELD, NJ - A popular festival celebrating Central American Independence Day will return to Plainfield in September, with strict rules for noise and alcohol consumption to address residents’ complaints over past festivals.

Nightclub owner Edison Garcia received permission to hold the event in two city-owned parking lots behind his club, Faraones, on Sept. 16 and 17. Although he requested hours of 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day, the permit calls for music to cease at 9 p.m. with a 10 p.m. closing on Saturday, and  7 p.m. on Sunday, closing at 8 p.m. Lots 8 and 8A, north of downtown stores between Somerset Street and Watchung Avenue, will be closed to shoppers on those days.

The festival will feature food, drinks and entertainment. A beer tent will be roped off and drinkers will not be allowed to take containers off the premises.  The city is requiring Garcia to hire eight police officers for crowd control, up from six in past years.

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The celebration marks the independence of five Central American nations: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Garcia began holding the festival in 2009, but a rival nightclub owner started holding similar festivals in a city lot a block east in 2012. In 2013, the celebrations spanned six days, to the consternation of residents objecting to amplified music.

Garcia will also be responsible for clean-up after each day, although at Monday’s meeting Public Works Director Oren K. Dabney suggested use of two city workers to assist in the clean-up, at Garcia’s expense.

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