It was a mob scene on Washington Street last Sunday, but the good kind of mob scene, where the kids are all smiles and the only obstructions are groups of old friends catching up on what may have been the warmest day of 2013. Well over 2,000 people turned out for Hoboken’s bi-annual Arts and Music Festival, which this year hosted over 30 musical performances and a bevy of local vendors and craftspeople.
Walt Ryan, a Hoboken resident who has attended the festival for as long as he can remember, said that Sunday’s installment was one of the best.
“It seems larger than last year’s festival, there’s much more to look at,” he said. “And obviously it’s such a beautiful day, which really makes it great.”
John, a Bergen County resident who didn’t want to give his last name, said Sunday was a day of many firsts for him.
“This is my first time at the festival,” he said. “I think it’s great. The food is awesome. Today is also my first time trying falafel, so I’ll have to come back next year.”
There were at least two vendors selling gourmet doggie biscuits.
“My son really loves the bounce house,” said Jeff. “But yeah, we come every time, and it’s always great. The food is fantastic and we always end up buying something for the house. There’s always so many interesting tchotchkes.”
Music was heard up and down Washington as stages were set up on Observer Highway, Third Street, and Seventh Street. Highlights included Bern and the Brights’ early set on the Observer Highway Stage and the Japanese drumming talents of Taiko Zoku on the Uptown Stage. In the afternoon, Swingadelic turned Washington Street into Bourbon Street with the sweet vibes of New Orleans soul music.
Food choices ranged from the Hoboken classics, like funnel cake and Italian sausage, to coastal delicacies like crab cakes, to barbeque specialties like pulled pork and Texas-style beef brisket sandwiches. And no one, pets included, was left hungry – there were at least two vendors selling gourmet doggie biscuits.
The city’s various politicians were also in attendance. Mayor Dawn Zimmer held court outside City Hall throughout the day, meeting constituents and discussing various issues, while her main competitor in the November mayoral election, Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, was shaking hands up and down Washington Street. Councilman-at-Large Ravinder “Ravi” Bhalla, who will run for Ramos’ vacated seat in Trenton, was registering voters outside his own booth.
Dean DeChiaro may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org