FANWOOD, NJ — To commemorate Autism Awareness Month and raise awareness of and funds for autism related services, Fanwood will host the second annual Rockin’ For Autism on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at LaGrande Park (Rain date April 30).
This year's event features a wide variety of food and beverage vendors, each of which will donate to the cause:
- Fanwood Grille (Fanwood): Burgers, foot-long hot dogs, lobster rolls, chicken shawarma, falafel
- Nick's Pizza (Fanwood): Pizza
- Rocko’s Ice Cream (Fanwood): Super-sized chocolate chip cookie-wiches and flying saucers
- Red, White and Que Smokeshack (Scotch Plains): BBQ brisket, chicken, and pulled pork
- The Empanada Guy (food truck): Empanadas
- The Juice House (Garwood): Acai Bowls (fresh fruit bowls with chilled acai)
- Sheelen's Crossing (Fanwood): Beer garden (2 – 6 p.m., adults only, at the skating rink)
Additionally, the music festival will feature an obstacle course, merchants, autism workshops, and a tricky tray raffle. The event also coincides with the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Baseball League's Opening Day ceremony, and boasts sports clinics from the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Soccer Association and the Wolves Basketball Academy.
Among the scheduled performers are: Anthem, Eric Harrison’s Crash Course, Three-Piece Nugget, Leave the Gun, The Thingama Jigs, and the Goodworks Band. Joining them will be renowned music therapist Jammin’ Jenn and a dance exposition by the Cindy Smith Dance Studio. The event will be MC’d by Main Source DJs.
Rockin’ For Autism is the brainchild of 15-year-old Fanwood resident Mallory Banks, who since 2011 has raised more than $20,000 for Autism New Jersey in honor of her brother, Ethan (age 17), and all those affected by autism spectrum disorder. Mallory ranks among the top kids in New Jersey who raise money for Autism Awareness Month. Last year, the festival raised more than $10,000.
“Last year’s Rockin’ For Autism Music Festival was unbelievable. While it was an exciting day for many, at the heart of it was the money the festival raised to help people with autism like my brother,” Mallory said. “This year’s festival is going to be even bigger and better than last year’s, and we hope that even more people attend because everyone who comes makes a difference.”
In 2015, Mallory pitched her idea for hosting a music festival in LaGrande Park to Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, who immediately embraced it. Since then, it has grown thanks to Mallory and her parents, Jeff and Gina Banks, and local government agencies, Fanwood police, and scores of volunteers.
“Rockin’ For Autism is an extraordinary event that Fanwood is proud to host. It has something for everyone to enjoy,” said Mayor Mahr. “Last year’s festival exceeded everyone’s expectations, and was a shining example of how the dreams of an exceptional young woman can pull an entire community together for a worthy cause. I am confident that the festival will continue to attract high attendance, creating memories while raising awareness and funds for the autism community.”