NEWTON, NJ - Nikki Briar will bring her original brand of popular country music to the stage on Saturday, October 18.  The concert will benefit the Sussex County Social Services Food Pantry and the Newton Fire Museum & Department.  The town of Newton will be teaming up with the Mitchell Insurance Agency and Sussex County Community College (SCCC) to sponsor the First Annual Newton Country Cool Festival.

Other sponsors include Hampton Rotary Club, Selective Insurance, Lisa Fairclough Enterprises, the Vozza Agency, JCP&L, Thorlabs, Lakeland Bank, CenturyLink, FMI, D&E and D&H Alternative Risk Solutions, Inc.

The event will be held on the Connor Green and Pavilion at SCCC.  It will feature over 20 craft and food vendors from the greater Newton area. Admission will be $3 and a donation of canned goods is appreciated. All proceeds at the gate will go to the Food Pantry.  The concert will be broadcast live by 102.3 WSUS-FM.  Attendees will be asked to help Stuff the Bus in the station’s annual food collection campaign.

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“The Sussex County Social Services Food Pantry helps between 700 and 800 Sussex County residents each month working 100 percent on donations and volunteers, and has collected and distributed over 400,000 pounds of food since the Stuff the Bus project started six years ago,” noted Keith Mitchell of the Mitchell Insurance Agency.

“There are estimates that up to 30 percent of families in Sussex County don’t have enough to eat.  Approximately 25 percent of military families who have an active member use a food pantry to help make ends meet,” added Thomas S. Russo, Jr., Newton’s Town Manager. “Support for this event will make it possible for the Food Pantry to serve more local families and individuals in need through the funds we raise and the food we collect at the event.”

Briar credits musicians like Kenny Chesney, Gretchen Wilson, Norah Jones, Faith Hill, Michael Buble and Shania Twain for inspiring her unique sound. Other musical acts at the event will include Tony of the Snake Oil Willie Band performing with R.E.N.O and local favorite Mike Herz.

Crafts and food will be available for purchase.  The Newton Fire Museum will run a beer and wine tent in addition to a soda and water tent provided by the Newton Fire Department.  A Kid Zone will feature face painting, pumpkin painting and a bounce house. There will also be pie-eating contests for adults and kids.

Attendees are asked to bring their own chairs or blankets for the concerts.  No outside coolers, beverages or food will be permitted. For more information, email manager@newtontownhall.com. You can also find information about the Country Cool Fest and other cool things happening in Newton at newwtonnjcool.com and Facebook.com/gonewton.