Bergen Point Fall Festival gets big turnout

More Bayonne festivals in the works

The third annual Bergen Point Fall Festival had Broadway packed. Vendors were bountiful, selling everything from food and apparel, to offering prizes to guess how much a pumpkin weighs. Musicians performed, art galleries opened their doors, and restaurants extended theirs, with the Italian eatery, Mona Lisa Pizzeria, cordoning off a section of the street for table seating.
Ten-year-old Eliana guessed the pumpkin weighed 113 pounds “because it looks to be between the weight of me and my mom.” The two were enjoying the sunny, 70-degree weather and buying a book and some art supplies. If she guesses right, she’ll win a 32-inch TV. Maritza Almonte was walking Broadway with her dog dressed as Woody from Toy Story. Almonte said she also has a lobster costume for her dog to wear on Halloween. She originally intended to have her dog compete in the dog costume contest. “I kind of slept through the registration, so it’s probably too late for me to do it,” she said.

Merchants, artists, and a word from the mayor

Didi Botino organized the Bergen Point Festival this year. “What we try to do is highlight the Bergen Point merchants and to show people who live uptown not to forget all about this area,” Botino said, citing Bergen Point’s turnaround from only a few years ago when empty storefronts were the rule. “We’re trying to promote the area, to get people from out of town to come in,” Botino said. “There are so many people looking for places to rent. It gives them an opportunity to see what’s available here, and as you can see, this went from a lot of vacancies to now.”
Botino’s efforts to promote the rejuvenated Bergen Point were well received. Christopher Mack, who runs the Bridge Art Gallery with his wife Cheryl, had a table in front of the gallery. “Most people that are here now don’t come down this way too often,” Mack said. “What we’re trying to do is gain visibility, to let everybody know we’re here and at the same time feature Ted and his work.”
Mack was referring to the Montclair-based fine artistTed Papoulas, who was in the gallery to give a talk (and Facebook live stream) on storyboarding. He’d recently illustrated his first children’s book, “The Sound of All Things,” which tells the story of an eight-year-old boy traveling around 1930s Brooklyn with his deaf parents, describing the sounds in all the scenes. “It was a good reception,” said Papoulas. “I did the talk twice and had some really good questions from people in the area.”
The Bayonne Community Museum also held an art show during the festival titled “For the Sake of Art,” an exhibition hosted by the Art Circle of Bayonne. Robert F., 55, was admiring photographs and paintings. “This is still new to me, having art exhibits here,” he said. “It didn’t used to be that way. It’s a welcome change.”
Mayor James Davis attended the festival with his family. “My son is running around here somewhere,” he said, praising the turnout and luck with the weather. “This is great, each year it gets bigger and it gets better,” he said. “It’s really gorgeous out here.”
The Bergen Point Festival has been so successful in its first three years that the mayor is pitching the idea of Bayonne hosting an uptown festival in April or May. “We’re looking to expand this to do another festival,” he said. “We would like to do an uptown fair, so that people from outside of Bayonne can come down.”


“We’re looking to expand this to do another festival. We would like to do an uptown fair so that people from outside of Bayonne can come down.” – Mayor James Davis

Music on Broadway

Live musicians performed on a stage at the tip of the festival. The Party of Five acapella doo-wop group, dressed in matching red vests and ties, sang “I Thank the Moon,” originally performed by the Crests in the late 1950s.Terry “T-Bone” Young, a retired civil engineer and member of Bayonne’s Blue Dawg Band, organized the music for the festival.
“The turnout is just phenomenal,” Young said.“Bayonne has really responded to this. The musicians have been phenomenal, and people are responding well to it.”
Starting November 25 at 7 p.m., a new type of festival titled “Music on Broadway,” is coming to Bayonne featuring numerous local musicians at multiple locations along Broadway and throughout Bayonne. “We’re putting acoustic, either duo or single acts, all over Broadway in places that don’t normally have music – pizza places, small restaurants, coffee houses in attempt to get people out on Broadway, shopping and dining,” said Young. “It’s kind of turned into something that’s really taking off.”

Rory Pasquariello may be reached at

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