It all began some eight years ago as a simple idea to encourage the closeness and camaraderie that the township has always enjoyed.
But the eighth annual Weehawken Day Festival, set for Saturday, Sept. 30, from 12 noon to 6 p.m., should be the biggest and best festival to date.
According to Mayor Richard Turner, who was behind the plan for the first Weehawken Day Festival, this year’s outing should provide excitement and entertainment from everyone from eight to 80.
“We try our best to maintain the festival, keep up to the standards we set every year,” Turner said. “Other smaller municipalities have similar festivals, so when it first started, we figured that we could do the same, because Weehawken has that small town character. And this is a perfect way for Weehawken to display that small town character, a way to showcase all we have to offer.”
The Weehawken Day Festival, which will be held at Lincoln Harbor Park at the foot of Baldwin Avenue near the Chart House Restaurant, is held annually, free of charge to all Weehawken residents, provided that they pre-register for the event with a proof of residence.
Residents are urged to pre-register for the Weehawken Day Festival, beginning Saturday (Sept. 23) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at Town Hall. Registration will continue Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.
Turner reiterates that pre-registration for the event is required, considering approximately 4,000 residents will visit the festival during the course of the day.
In case of rain, the Weehawken Day Festival will be held on Sunday, Oct. 1, from noon to 6 p.m. The festival, sponsored by Weehawken Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse, will provide residents free food (hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers) and soft drinks, as well as a host of other activities – an array of events that Turner was happy to go over.
“We’re going to have rides, games of chance, displays and presentations,” Turner said. “We really have something for everyone.”
For the kiddies, there will be all the favorite characters on hand, like Barney the Purple Dinosaur, Blue’s Clues and Pikachu of Pokemon fame. There will be fire-eaters, clowns, as well as rides for children of all ages. For the adults, there will be several bands playing, like the Roy Meyer Singers, the Robert Lawrence Orchestra, conducted by Weehawken resident Susan Sherman and Weehawken teacher Piero Romano’s classical jazz band. For the teenagers, a disc jockey will be spinning the popular hits.
There will be several games of chance, with all the proceeds of the games going to some of the township’s youth groups, such as the Babe Ruth baseball program, the Weehawken Recreation football program and the Weehawken High School booster club.
There will also be a baseball dunk tank, which Turner vows he will be a target for a selected time, with the proceeds going to benefit Weehawken resident Karen Bosotina, who has a serious illness and needs help to pay for her costly medical bills.
There will also be 30 different informational tables set up by the township’s different organizations, ranging from Boy and Girl Scouts to the Women’s Club of North Hudson to the Weehawken Plant Club.
The Plant Club is holding its annual plant swap, where residents can bring a plant they no longer want and trade it for a healthy new one. It was a rousing success a year ago.
There will also be presentations from the Liberty Science Center, the North Hudson Community Action Program, the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue, the Weehawken Police Department and the Weehawken Volunteer First Aid Rescue Squad.
Needless to say, a wide range of events.
But Turner believes that the activities are not the sole reason for having the festival.
“We provide information of all the different activities and organizations we have in the township,” Turner said. “Plus, the people of the town get together and see people that they haven’t seen in a long time. It’s a great way to show everything that goes on in Weehawken in a great setting.”
Transportation to and from the event is available. There will be a free bus service that will make several stops every 15 minutes, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Some of the pick-up locations include all of the township’s four schools, namely Weehawken High School on Highwood Avenue, Roosevelt School on Cooper Place, Webster School on Palisade Avenue and Woodrow Wilson on Hauxhurst Avenue, as well as other spots around the town. If you’re a senior citizen and in need of transportation, you are encouraged to contact the Weehawken Senior Citizens at 319-6060 to make arrangements.
Turner also pointed out that the Weehawken Day Festival would not be possible without the efforts of a solid volunteer organization. Over 300 residents will give of their time to make the event run smoothly.
“It’s a major undertaking and it happens because of the volunteers,” Turner said.
“Name the group and they’re all giving of their time. The volunteer support is so great.”
Turner has one last message to township residents.
“I think they should all come out and enjoy themselves,” Turner said. “They’re bound to have a great time.”