Summit’s Independence Day: Honoring America While Celebrating the Community

Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn
Credits: Sean Quinn

SUMMIT, NJ - On July 4th, 1776, the forefathers of the United States declared their independence from Britain, signaling the beginning of what would become one of the greatest countries in the world. America is the land of opportunity – a place where people all over the world come to in hopes of fulfilling their dreams, and a nation beloved by its citizens. Independence Day is held each year not only to commemorate the signing of the Declaration, but also to recognize the country as a whole. This can be done by holding family barbeques or by shooting off firecrackers or even by just thinking about the true spirit of the United States. Yet for Summit residents, the Fourth of July means only one thing – honoring America with an all-out community celebration.

The Summit Mayor’s Annual Fourth of July Celebration was held for a milestone 65th year this Independence Day in Soldier’s Memorial Field. The event featured attractions for patriots of all ages, including rides, a flag raising ceremony, a children’s decorated bicycle competition and parade, a city services softball game, food from America’s Kettle Corn and Mike’s Ice Cream, and live music. Of course, a Fourth of July festival would be nothing without
fireworks, and a display indeed did close out the evening. This year, the special fireworks detonators were members of the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad, which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.

“It’s an exciting day,” said Judith Leblein Josephs, Director of Summit Community Programs. Though the event has become an annual mainstay, Josephs pointed out that it could not exist without monetary contributions.

“For 65 years, the Celebration has been only funded by donations from residents, corporations, and some of the larger businesses in town,” said Josephs. “It’s an expensive proposition … but it’s a tradition held dear.”

According to Josephs, the cost of holding the event is almost $100,000, a financial burden that could not be met without the help of sponsors Investors Bank, Overlook Medical Hospital, Celgene, Equinox, and Merck. Bill Coakley, Merck’s Executive Director of Facilities, said his company was proud to be involved with the Celebration.

“Merck is part of the community,” he said. “[We] believe in giving back to the community, either through donations or individual support and volunteerism.”

Josephs said that over 6,000 people were expected to attend the event this year, a figure which surely includes numerous families. The Celebration was certainly a familial affair for Terry, Mike, and Sara Vena, who enjoyed picnicking at last year’s event so much that this time they brought extended relatives.

“We’re just glad to come out and spend time with our family,” said Terry. “That’s the whole goal of this – to be together.”

For Doug Gamble and Bonnie Reid, the Celebration also marked a special family occasion – their eleventh wedding anniversary. The couple came all the way from Carmel, California, to see their friends The Cameos, an oldies band performing at the event.

“We go to as many shows as we can,” said Gamble. “We love their music.”

But Gamble said the Celebration was more than a night of music – it was a time to show appreciation for America.

“We are very patriotic,” he said. “I think Independence Day would have to be the most important U.S. holiday because of what it represents – freedom from oppression.”

Harriet Cannella, who came to the event with Gamble and Reid, agreed that pride in the United States was the most important aspect of the Celebration.

“That’s what it’s all about really, patriotism, which we’re lacking a lot of in this country right about now,” said Cannella.

The Celebration is definitely a major city event. Al Martino understands that fact quite well, having attended almost every year when he was younger. He was even a judge for this year’s bicycle decorating competition. Now, as a part of Merck, Martino is making sure that it continues for many more Fourth of Julys to come.

“It’s a tradition in Summit,” said Martino. “It’s a good event to gather everyone here in the community and spend the night together with the music and the fireworks.”

On that very first Fourth of July all those years ago, the founding fathers started the United States with just the dream that it would become a free and prosperous country for its citizens. This Independence Day, the residents of Summit affirmed that dream by coming together as a community to honor their nation.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Sun, May 27, 8:00 AM

Summit Summer Farmers Market, Summit

Summit Farmers Market

Community Calendar Food & Drink Green Health & Wellness


Thu, May 31, 11:30 AM

Canoe Brook Country Club, Summit

Fortnightly Club Scholarship Luncheon

Food & Drink Giving Back


Thu, May 31, 1:30 PM

Coppola Ristorante, New Providence

Lunch and Learn: Dental Implants and the ...

Health & Wellness

Summit Police Blotter

May 17, 2018

4/24 - At 0728 hours a report was taken for a theft of two (2) sandwiches from a business on Morris Avenue. The manager reported that at approximately 0330 hours a male entered the business and removed two sandwiches from a refrigerated case. After doing so, he exited the store without paying for them. The male suspect was described as Hispanic, approximately 6’0”wearing a blue/gray ...

Video: Point View's Petrides Looks at Trade Truce Sector Beneficiaries, Opportunities

May 24, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, on CNBC's Nightly Business Report (interview starts at 5:05 mark) discussing stocks to buy based on easing trade tensions with China.

For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, ...

Video: Point View's Dietze Reviews Investment Strategies as Trade Tensions with China Calm

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, live on FOX Business on investment strategies in the wake of the thawing of Chinese trade tensions.

For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio ...

Stocks Can Rise in a Rising Interest Rate Environment

Investors remain concerned about the potential impact of higher interest rates on stocks. In their most recently released minutes, the Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee indicated the US economy is on solid footing and the economic conditions warrant continued gradual increasing of interest rates. This set off a sale in the stock and bond markets as investors began pricing in a fourth ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!


SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...