The 18th annual Winterfest parade last Thursday saw thousands of North Bergen residents congregate along Bergenline Avenue to enjoy the popular parade floats, performances, and food from local vendors. For many North Bergen residents, the appeal of the event comes from the chance to be a kid again.
“It’s fun for the kids and even for the grandparents,” said Susan Pelier, as her two grandchildren stood huddled aside her, captivated by the passing parade floats.
“It’s a good time, especially as an adult,” she added. “It makes you feel like a kid again.”
“It gets better and better every year.” – Johnel Polinik
‘Biggest success yet’
The event, as always, was coordinated by Kathy Somick, of the Board of Education.
“This was our 18th Winterfest, and it was the biggest success yet,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco, who attended. “Thousands of North Bergen residents came out and enjoyed themselves.” (Of course, this year could also be deemed a bigger success than last year simply because no one was found locked in a porta-potty the next morning).
“The weather was great and I was happy to see so many families and children take part in the festivities,” added Sacco.
“We’ve been coming every year just to see it,” said Jane Sitkowski, a resident of 36 years. “It’s really nice that the town does it every year.”
The parade is perhaps most engaging for the kids, who were excitedly waiting in line to get their faces painted. Other children also were able to participate on the parade floats.
“We think next year our grandchildren will be old enough to come,” said Johnel Polinik, a resident and retired teacher. “It gets better and better every year.”
The parade also featured the return of the pink firetruck, “Gemma.” Last year, the ex-North Bergen firetruck was renovated, painted pink, and donated to the Guardians of the Ribbon, which helps raise awareness for women in their fight against cancer. The truck was named Gemma after North Bergen Repair and Transit Supervisor Dan Peschetti’s mother, who died of lung cancer.
The four-hour event has become perhaps one of the most successful events for the town, encouraging more residents to participate every year.
“The turnout is phenomenal,” said Ken Morrison, a North Bergen resident, accompanied by his family. “It’s a chance for the community to get together during the holiday season.”
Stephen LaMarca may be reached at email@example.com.