'Celebrate South Orange' is Here This Saturday
The dunk tank is back; a Sloppy Joe eating contest now added
With games, food, arts & crafts, a Sloppy Joe eating contest and a chance to dunk a Village trustee, the annual "Celebrate South Orange" festival is back today, promising to bring together everything that's good about South Orange, all in one afternoon.
"It's like a dream come true," said Adena Traub, president of Main Street South Orange and co-chair of the Promotions Committee.
Traub joined the committee a few years ago, when Main Street South Orange organized "Taste of South Orange," a yearly event for the people in town to try food samples from local restaurants. "We were looking to expand 'Taste of South Orange' because it was exclusively restaurants," said Traub. "There are so many good things about South Orange, so we wanted to find a way to bring everything together and build on it."
That's how "Celebrate South Orange" started. Every year the committee tweaked a bit, and added a bit. Now in its third year, the festival is "getting bigger and bigger," said Traub.
CSO will run from 3 to 6 p.m. and the supper, which will include dishes from over 20 local restaurants, from 6 to 8 p.m. The meeting points will be the Sloan Street Lot, aka the "KidZone" or the place for games, inflatables, face painting, and more; and Spiotta Park, where artists and crafters will gather for the artisan bazaar.
Also at the Sloan Street Lot will be the long-awaited Dunk Tank, where participants will be able to dunk their Village Trustees (and their dad!). At 6:45 p.m., the art auction, featuring posters by local artists, kicks in. All proceeds from the sale will benefit downtown beautification.
This year's addition is the Sloppy Joe eating contest, which will happen at 5:30 p.m. on the "MainStage," or the Sloan Street parking lot. The committee came up with the idea as they wondered if, with regards to food, there was something really central to South Orange. As it turns out, a sloppy joe is the ultimate New Jersey sandwich. "That was the 'duh' moment. We are really excited about it."
Whoever manages to eat more sloppy joes in three minutes will win a $100 Town Hall Deli certificate and his/her name will be put on the Sloppy Joe Trophy, which will be on display year-round.
But CSO is not all about town pride. The reason why people have been asked to fill out the Sloppy Joe applications at the Town Hall is because it drives them downtown, promoting local businesses and restaurants and furthering Main Street South Orange's mission, explains Traub.
In years past, local businesses would gather at the festival. This year, the idea is to get people inside the town's stores and eateries. And to get the shopping spirit going, the Main Street tent at the Sloan Street lot will be giving out merchant maps that can be punched at numerous businesses and turned in at the end to win local prizes and gift certificates.