MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The township will be honoring those of Haitian heritage will a flag raising ceremony.

The event will be this Saturday, May 11, from 2 to 4 p.m., at Maplewood Town Hall, 574 Valley St.

Former Mayor of South Toms River Joseph Makhandal Champagne will be the guest speaker.

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Champagne was first elected to the borough council in South Toms River in 2008 in a landslide election against an incumbent. He is an attorney in New Jersey, practicing law on immigration, criminal and civil law.

"Champagne is committed and passionate about serving his community," said Maplewood Deputy Mayor Frank McGehee in a flyer about the event.

Mayor Champagne is the chairman of the National Haitian-American Elected Officials Network. He is married and has three children.

'The event will have music, dance, free food and fun," said McGehee. 

May is Haitian Hertiage Month. Other events in New Jersey to celebrate Haitian Heritage Month include a Creole Fest at the CF Loft in Irvington scheduled for Saturday, May 18 and the Third Annual Celebration of Haitian Heritage Month in Asbury Park, also scheduled for May 18, reports The Haitian Times.

Creole Fest is from 2 to 8 p.m. on May 18. The third annual celebration of Haitian Heritage Month is organized by New Jersey Haiti Partners and will feature music, dancers and speakers.