Each September over the last four years, there have been “Get Naked in the ‘Wood” lawn signs throughout Maplewood and South Orange yards that have made many curious. This clever slogan promotes the annual Robert J. Miller Oysterfest for Melanoma Awareness that drew 2000 neighbors to The Woodland last year to support an important cause and enjoy a fun community event for all ages. This event was designed to raise funds for cancer research and awareness as well as provide financial support to families facing an unexpected medical crises.
Bob Miller was a proud Maplewood resident for more than a decade and lived near the heart of town with his wife Grace and their four young girls. He was a world-class architect who had just started his own architecture firm in Manhattan after working with some of the biggest names in the field including Robert Stern and Michael Graves. He also focused on renovating the historic homes in Maplewood and neighboring towns while always being so modest about his talent.
At age 45, he was diagnosed with melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Despite a courageous two-year battle, Bob passed away in March 2014. In 2015, Grace along with devoted friends and family members organized the inaugural Robert J. Miller Oysterfest to celebrate Bob’s life, raise funds for melanoma research and provide skin cancer screenings. The idea was that people who normally wouldn’t take time out of their busy schedules to see a dermatologist for a checkup would take advantage of a quick and convenient screening at a fun, social event.
"This event is an ideal form of therapy for me and the girls because it honors our sweet Bob while also raising awareness about melanoma. Through prevention and early diagnosis, our real hope is that we spare others the pain of this disease. The fact that we gather in the center of Maplewood and have a great time as a community is a bonus,” said Grace.
The 2018 Oysterfest will be a day fun-filled with live bands, music from Brian Kirk & the Jirks and Streetlife Serenade. There will be loads of children’s activities until 5 p.m. including henna artists, face painters, a photo booth and life-size games. This event will include an array of scrumptious food choices ranging from oysters and lobster rolls to tacos, hot dogs and even Thai food. Most importantly, there will be free, on-site melanoma skin screenings from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
None of this would be possible without the support from our partnership with the Township of Maplewood, and loyal sponsors including: St. James Gate, Keller Williams Midtown Direct, JMF Properties, The Lions Club, Far Brook School, The Able Baker, Village Trattoria, Baker Street Yoga, Millburn Orthodontics, RKC Architects, MNET Mortgage, Investors Home Mortgage, TAPinto SOMA, Anthony Garubo, and Jerry Rose Floral to name just a few.
The Robert J. Miller Oysterfest is also made possible through the hard work of the following committee members: Paul & Rene Conlon, Ellen & Donald Davenport, Amy Jo & Pat Curran, Carol V. Fardin, Tricia Kenny, Karen Semian, Adam Sparrey and Tom Verbero, and many volunteers that day.
We can’t wait to see everyone on Saturday, September 15, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Woodland, in Maplewood.
Buy your tickets now at bobmilleroysterfest.com.