SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The Scotch Plains Council has once again approved the use of the Township's hedge property and a portion of the municipal parking lot for Darby Road's annual St. Patrick's Day Festival.

Restaurateur Joe Mortarulo was invited to the microphone to discuss details of the event, including the hours of operation. On Friday, March 13, and Saturday, March 14, the music level goes down at 10:00 pm. and the tent shuts down at 1:00 a.m. On Sunday, March 15, everything will close at 10:00 p.m., but the crowd usually clears out earlier, according to Mortarulo.

The event, one of the highlights of the town's annual calendar, also serves as a fundraiser for the SPF PAL.

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"Last year, we were able to make a fantastic donation to the PAL about $6,000," said Mortarulo, adding that he hopes to bring the event back in future years if the so-called hedge property still exists (a reference to part of the downtown redevelopment plan that calls for the Municipal Building to move off Park Ave. and onto Westfield Ave. in Scotch Plains.)

Mortarulo said he once again plans children-friendly events on Saturday and Sunday and has reviewed security and parking issues with Scotch Plains police chief Ted Conley. He also has had friendly discussions with neighbors who live nearby about the reduction of late night music levels.

Township Manager Al Mirabella commended the Darby Road owner for working with the Passuccis.

"I know you have been respectful of them," Mirbella said.

"This is one of the great events in town," Mayor Al Smith told Mortarulo. "It has worked out to be a good partnership with the town and your establishment, Darby Road."

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