Rent Party Family Picnic was never originally planned to be an annual event. “When we held our first show three years ago, it was simply a celebration of Rent Party’s fifth anniversary,” said Rent Party co-founder Chris Dickson. “The fact of the matter is that we all had such a good time, we decided to do it again and again…” and the event has grown each year. “We’re really delighted that this community has embraced the event,” added Dickson.

The free event features live music from noon until 10 p.m. in Maplecrest Park on Saturday, September 9. All of the performers have graced the Rent Party stage in the past. “That is a big part of the ‘Family’ element to the day,” said Dickson. “A lot of these bands have been with us, supporting what we do, since the very beginning. It’s also a day where we get together with the folks that we partner with in the community throughout the year, our hunger fighting family." The event also features a food drive that supports local food pantries.

Dickson is quick to point out that the event has become a day for families too. “What’s really nice is that so many families come to this event. It’s a nice chance for parents to enjoy some live music, while keeping an eye on the kids on playground,” said Dickson. “There’s also lots of room for Frisbee and. playing ball and there’s a skate park here too… Good family fun”. The event also features food vendors, face painting and will host a community corridor showcasing civic groups from the community.

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Rent Party is partnering with the Asbury Park Punk Rock Flea Market (APPRFM) to bring arts and crafts vendors to the event for the first time. “We are so excited about this connection,” said Dickson. “The folks from APPRFM are just great and our hope is that we pleasantly surprise you with what they bring to the table,” added Dickson.

“We’re looking forward to a great day,” said Dickson. “So bring the family and join us!”

Started in 2009, Rent Party is a live music series in Maplewood – South Orange. The proceeds from these shows help fight hunger in the community. Rent Party supports three local food pantries (Oheb Shalom, St. Joseph’s, and Our Lady of Sorrows). They built and maintain a large community garden on the front lawn of the South Orange Elks that raises fresh produce for the pantries they support. Their BackPack Pals program provides a weekend's worth of nutritious food each week during the school year to about 100 food-insecure kids in our schools. To learn more about Rent Party, visit their website at www.rentpartylive.com