WEST ORANGE, NJ — Hundreds of West Orange High School (WOHS) football fans of all ages, students and family members came out to kick off the football season, enjoy tasty treats and play family-friendly games at the Mountaineer Fan Fest on Friday at the WOHS baseball field.

“This is always an exciting bonding activity that brings the community together to get the West Orange High School football season underway,” said Stephan Zichella, a WOHS dean who helped organize this event along with athletic director Ron Bligh.

Dozens of WOHS clubs, booster groups, community groups and service organizations had tables at the event. All proceeds from the club fundraising items that were sold to the public will support the activities of the participating clubs and athletic teams at the school.

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“Principal Moore wanted to create a Fan Fest that would bring people from all over the community together for a great time,” said Zichella. “His idea has certainly worked. It’s super well-attended, and a lot of laughs are made. It’s wonderful to see the community coming out in such large numbers for this event. This is now the fourth year we’ve had it, and its gets better every year.”

WOHS’s junior Airforce ROTC started off the activities by presenting the colors. Then the school’s award-winning marching band came out on the field with the cheerleading squad, who got the event off to a rousing start with their cheers.

Monty the Mountaineer, the school’s mascot, took photo ops with fans as they ate the delicious food, played games, and won prizes. Food selections included everything from empanadas to homemade baked goods. 

Popular activities included face painting, the Home Run Derby with the baseball team and the wrestling team’s Guess Your Weight game. Sales were brisk at the Mountaineer Spirit Wear table as people bought sweatshirts for the evening game at the school’s Suriano Stadium.

Many stayed to see the football team win its first victory of the year, handily defeated one of its major rivals, Columbia High School, 36-7. (Click HERE for story.)