WEST ORANGE, NJ - A brief sun shower did nothing to dampen the spirits of the estimated 800 people attending the Gregory School PTA’s Strawberry Festival Saturday afternoon. Children enjoyed a bounce house, inflatable slide and obstacle course, pony rides, face painting, sand art, and games.

Also on hand were the mascot of the New Jersey Jackals baseball team, a DJ, and a dunk tank, where local luminaries including WOHS language arts teacher Tonio Favetta, West Orange Mayor Rob Parisi, Edison Middle School Principal Xavier Fitzgerald and Gregory School PTA President Cyndy Rintzler were repeatedly dropped into the refreshingly cool water by baseball-hurling students and parents.

“Gregory School’s 78th annual Strawberry Festival rocked!” said Rintzler. “We’re so fortunate to be a part of a community that joins together to pull off this huge event to keep the tradition going, give our kids a fun day, and allow neighbors to get to know each other better and have fun together.”

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Children also painted rocks to adorn the recently dedicated Gregory Gardens, a school education and beautification project begun earlier this year.

Cara Baluzy, a Gregory fifth grader, said she most enjoyed the spinning cups ride because “it made me feel so little again, like I was on a roller coaster!” First grader Sydney Hains also had fun; the highlight of the day for her, she said, was the dunk tank, where she got to dunk her dad.

To see all the photos from the event, go to 78th Annual Strawberry Festival.