ROXBURY, NJ - A group clapped along to the beat as Irish step dancers performed onstage. Tents run by local businesses and organizations offered information about their services and fundraising efforts. People dropped off canned goods as donations to Roxbury Social Services.
The Roxbury High School Student Council’s first “Summer Kickoff” was in full swing.
Held Saturday at Horseshoe Lakeu Park in Succasunna, the event “was created to bring the community together for one day where everyone is involved, all age groups invited and all types of activities are included,” the student council said.
“We love events where we go and the whole town is involved,” Student Council President Kaila Mathis said.
Planning for the event - originally pitched as a gathering for high school clubs - started as early as January, according to Mathis.
Entertainment was provided in many forms at the “Kickoff,” where attendees could enjoy food trucks, outdoor games, live bands and dance performances, or check out vendor tents where clothing, jewelry and other products were sold.
Reduced ticket prices were offered to anyone who brought a canned food item as a donation to Roxbury Social Services. The donation response was fairly large, according to Mathis, who said student council members had already loaded some of the canned goods into their cars less than two hours into the event. One person showed up just to drop off his own bag of cans while he was in the area, she said.
Mathis said she wanted to involve Social Services because of its constant involvement with the Roxbury community. “I think Social Services is a huge part of the town, and that’s where we thought (this event) could benefit the town the most,” she said.
About a dozen businesses and organizations, even some food trucks, signed up for the “Kickoff.” Though participation was free for vendors, many made donations to Social Services throughout the day, according to Mathis.
One of these vendors was Gayle Devoe, owner of a handmade jewelry company called Daydream Creations.
“I live in Flanders, so it’s nice to help out your community and neighboring communities,” she said. “I would feel horrible to just walk away without donating because it takes a lot of work to put events like this together.”