Despite brief downpours through the daytime hours during this year’s Fourth of July celebration, Jersey City's Freedom and Fireworks Festival was a resounding success.
An estimated 60,000 people came into the park, setting up tents and other coverings as they started the city’s largest group cookout, although there were plenty of food vendors on site.
Musical acts filled two stages. During the day, a stage for local performers kept small crowds happy, even though most had to huddle under umbrellas. Craig Morgan and Kristen Redmond, national county and Western acts, took the main stage at night.
“My daughter and I had an excellent time,” said Kristin Angevine of Jersey City. “It was well organized and the whole crowd seemed happy. The carnival rides were a huge hit with us. I can’t wait for it again next year.”
Kids enjoyed face painting and magic acts.
Sponsors for the event included Suntex Marinas, Budweiser, and Napa Auto Parts. So naturally there were several beer gardens located at various part of the park, as well as the well as the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales a group of horses used for promotions and commercials by the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company. These steeds, some as tall as seven feet high, wowed even police and other public safety personnel along with the kids, all of whom crowded around trying to get a picture of or with the horses.
“The Festival attracted 60,000 people and the fireworks delighted Jersey City residents and visitors alike,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. “Visitors enjoyed the concert, flocked to the food trucks, and participated in all the different activities despite the gloomy weather earlier in the day. But Mother Nature smiled on us and cleared the night sky for a brilliant display of fireworks. We plan to make this an annual event so we can continue to showcase everything Jersey City has to offer.”
Sam Pesin, president of the Friends of Liberty State Park, said parking became an issue that was partly resolved by the kind efforts of Liberty Landing Marina that opened up some of its parking to the excess traffic.
“It was a wonderful event,” Pesin said.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.