NEWTON, NJ – From early Saturday morning through the conclusion of the day with a massive fireworks display at dark, Newton residents and those from around the area came out to celebrate the town on Saturday, June 13, at the annual Newton Day Festival.
The day started out cloudy, but the clouds broke around 10 a.m., with clear conditions and sunny to partly-sunny skies throughout the day, with seasonably pleasant temperatures.
“It’s a great day of the year when the town gets together to celebrate what it’s like to be a part of the Newton family,” said Thomas S. Russo, Jr. Newton’s Town Manager. “It’s a fun-filled day for everyone.”
The fun kicked off early with the Firehouse 5K Run/Walk, with over 200 runners and walkers taking off around the town in support of the Newton Fire Department. For full race results click here.
The top overall winner of the 5K was Chartt Miller from New Rochelle, NY, with a time of 15:31.2. Second place was Steven Ryan of Hamburg at 16:21.4. Ian Anderson of Fredon took third with a time of 18:31.8.
Top in the women’s group was Stephanie McNeely from Sussex, with a time of 22:36.6. McNeely placed number 11 in the overall race. Second place was Jessica Grimm of Branchville at 22:56.7, who placed 11 overall. In third was Alexandra Miller of Sparta at 23:25.5, who crossed the overall finish as the 18th runner.
The Newton Day Festival was in full swing between 11 a.m. until about 4:30 p.m. on Spring Street. The street was packed with activity and crowds. Vendors were along the streets with food, games, items for sale and demonstrations.
Local organizations and businesses also had a presence at the festival, some with information to share, others with things they were selling for fundraising. The Newton Public Schools and Newton Pride Foundation were among them. The Newton Robotics Team, Team Aperture, was there demonstrating their many innovations that they work on throughout the school year.
Christ Community Church, Living Waters Fellowship and Newton Presbyterian Church were some of the local churches that had booths at the event, with the Newton Presbyterian Church selling cotton candy, grilled items and snow cones to help raise money for the church’s roof repair.
The Greater Newton Chamber of Commerce (GNCC), the Town of Newton and the Newton Police Department were some of the organizations also with a presence at the festival, sharing information about the town. Newton Police, including Chief Michael Richards, handed out information about the programs that the police department offers, including Text-a-Tip and DARE.
The Newton Fire Museum had the vintage Mack engine out in its full glory sparkling under the sun on Spring Street. The Newton First Aid Squad did demonstrations and offered tours of its ambulance.
One of the highlights of the fundraising efforts at Newton Day was the presence of the Community Kids, an outreach through Newton’s Merriam Avenue School, with the group raising funds and collecting food for the local food banks. Participants could give $1 or a can of food for three chances to dunk local teachers, school administrators, police officers and Russo, who was challenged to sit in the dunk tank by Christ Community Church and Celebrate Recovery, with the church and celebrate recovery donating $500 towards the Community Kids’ effort to dunk Russo. The Town of Newton coordinated with the Community Kids to get the dunk tank and special t-shirts that some from the organization wore. Others who took the plunge in the dunk tank included from the school: Ms. Greene, Mr. Sandor, Mr. Zymet, Mr. Sucameli and Mrs. Keppler. Other participants were: Ian Keppler, Amanda Keppler and Newton Police Officer Kenny Teets.
Local shops enjoyed a steady stream of visitors, as did the local eateries. Some of the eateries like the Spring Street Pub & Grill had food for sale in front of their restaurant. In front of the Springboard Shoppes, The Table was set up to serve hot coffee and chilled beverages, including specialty drinks like smoothies and their Italian sodas in a range of flavors. The Table also had a variety of snacks for sale. Trinity Restaurant & Lounge had their doors open where diners could grab lunch while overlooking the festival.
Other treats to eat included: Cliff’s Ice Cream, a popcorn vendor, grilled items, lemonade and more.
There were other activities that took place on Spring Street and around the corner during the afternoon portion of the festival. Mad Science was one of the demonstrations, there was a martial arts demonstration as well. Rizzo’s Reptiles had some scaly friends who wowed the audience. There was also music by RC Mixers. Kids could enjoy a free ride on the carousel in the center of Spring Street. Kids could get their faces painted, play games and apply temporary tattoos. The local animal rescues, including OSCAR (One Step Closer Animal Rescue) had kittens, puppies and dogs seeking their forever homes that visitors could meet, greet and cuddle with.
A classic car show was a highlight up the street from the festival and in Newton’s square Civil War re-enactors held an encampment.
After 4:30 p.m. the festivities continued at Newton’s Memory Park, where attendees could enjoy more food, ice cream, vendors and old-fashioned family games and contests. There were antique tractor and wagon rides, demonstrations, and activities for the kids and inflatable bounce places for children to jump and expend their energies in. Fantasia was on the roster as live musical entertainment.
After dark, a massive fireworks display shot up into the skies over Memory Park, with the sound resonating and glow of the fireworks visible in many locations throughout the town.
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