SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Residents came out in full force Saturday for South Plainfield’s 3rd Annual ‘Christmas in July’ street fair. Held along South Plainfield Avenue and old Hamilton Boulevard in less than wintery weather conditions, this year’s event attracted hundreds of residents, featured 50 vendors and offered a day of entertainment and fun for the entire family.
“Events such as this are a great opportunity for us to showcase South Plainfield’s downtown,” said Mayor Matt Anesh.
Sponsored by the Tri-County Chamber of Commerce, the South Plainfield Business Association and the Cultural Arts Commission, ‘Christmas in July’ featured the wares and services of local businesses and organizations – big and small – along with entertainment, a window-painting contest and a charity dunk tank.
The event kicked off with Breakfast With Santa at Bagel Pantry followed by a performance from the South Plainfield High School Tiger Marching Band leading Santa in a parade down South Plainfield Avenue.
Entertainment throughout the day also included performances from Srihari Yamunan, Ashley Mangandi, and Cory Singer, and the South Plainfield Summer Drama Workshop, which offered a sneak peak of their 2015 production The Wizard of Oz set to hit the high school stage later this week.
Additionally, South Plainfield’s Tiger Tech F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Team #5624 demonstrated their award-winning robot.
Unfortunately, due to mechanical issues, the food truck did not make it this year but attendees had the chance to enjoy lunch at a number of downtown establishments, including Bagel Pantry, Mr. Subs, KC Korner’s and Los Primos Romero while others chose to cool off with an ice and ice cream at Uncle Louie G’s.
Activities for children took place throughout the day and included story time with Library Director Linda Hansen; a bouncy house, face painting and sand art; First Baptist Church offered a free photo booth as well as sponsored a water balloon toss; and Mr. Subs held a hula hoop contest with Olivia Dodge, 9, winning a $25 gift certificate to the sub shop.
Proceeds from this year’s event will be split equally among the South Plainfield Police Department, the South Plainfield Fire Department, the South Plainfield Rescue Squad and Friends of the Library while proceeds from the South Plainfield High School Tiger Marching Band’s sale of fried Oreos and Twinkies and tricky tray will go to offset program costs in the upcoming school year. Additionally, money raised at the charity dunk tank – which offered attendees of all ages the opportunity to try their hand at dunking Mayor Anesh, Councilmen Bob Richkus, Rob Bengivenga and Ray Rusnak, council candidate Joe Wolak, South Plainfield Police Det. Lloyd McNelly and borough Administrator/CFO Glenn Cullen – will go toward helping Shirley Thompson with her 13th annual holiday gift and food drive.
As in previous year’s, ‘Christmas in July’ also featured a window painting contest sponsored by the Cultural Arts Commission. Throughout the week leading up to the street fair, individuals and organizations painted winter and holiday-themed window displays at many of the downtown businesses. Prizes were awarded with the Pender family winning first place and a $25 gift card from the Boyle Memorial Foundation for their artwork at Buy-Rite; Harrison and Matthew Anesh winning second place and a $25 gift card from Columbia Bank for their artwork at Los Primos Romero; and Alexx White and Delaney Born winning third place and a $25 gift card to Regal Cinemas for their artwork at Bagel Pantry.
This year’s ‘Christmas and July’ committee was chaired by Jill Ryan and included Al Boettger, Debbie Boyle, Darlene Cullen, Patty Fenney, Nancy Grennier, Shannon Jeffries, Pastor Jesse Nietzer and Marjorie Reedy. “I am thrilled about the turnout for the third annual event. It keeps growing every year,” said Ryan. “I am extremely grateful to the vendors who participated as well as the residents who came down and supported this year’s event.”
Anesh added, “I want to thank the committee and everyone involved as well as all the vendors and residents who helped make this year’s ‘Christmas in July’ event a success. Hopefully, this is something that continues and grows each year.”