Every spring for the last four years, the Central Avenue Special Improvement District (CASID) has organized the annual, much anticipated Everything Jersey City Festival on Central Avenue in the Jersey City Heights.
This day-long, family-friendly street festival will be held Saturday, May 21 this year. The event attracted an estimated 23,000 people last year.
As a Special Improvement District event, it is designed to showcase the Central Avenue area as an accessible main street, rich in businesses and amenities.
It was also created to thank the residents of Jersey City and the Heights for their patronage and support for the Central Avenue business community.
“Rain, shine, or snow, the festival goes on.” – Michael Yun
As usual, there will be food galore, with organizers emphasizing the wide range of international foods, reflecting the diversity of the area.
About 10 different international food styles will include vendor staples such as Indian, Italian, and Spanish specialties.
Back by popular demand is the “Queen of Freestyle” and KTU “The Best of New York” Radio on-air personality Judy Torres.
“She did an outstanding job two years ago and it’s always fantastic to have our own residents participate in local events,” said Jersey City Ward D Councilman and Heights resident Bill
Echoing that sentiment is president of the CASID Board of Trustees Michael Yun, who said, “We just had to bring Judy back.”
Torres is glad to be back. “I am so proud to perform for a second time at the Everything Jersey City Festival, to sing for my wonderful neighbors, and give back to a community that supports its people,” she said.
Torres is a Jersey City Heights resident.
“I live in the Jersey City Heights,” she said, “because I love the richness and diversity, the ease of getting everything I need in one neighborhood, and the really cool little restaurants I’ve found.”
Yun, who is also festival chairman, said, “It’s our fourth annual festival. The theme of the festival is pride and harmony. It’s a day of family fun with a lot of different things for kids.”
These include a rock climbing wall, petting zoo, obstacle course, moonwalk, and super slide.
“We want to create some kind of good memory for people who live in the area, Jersey City, and Hudson County,” Yun said.
Yun himself has had a business in the Heights for 30 years: Garden State News, a convenience store on Central Avenue.
“Last year,” he said, “we had about 20,000 visitors from all over the place. This year we expect even more people to participate.”
Newcomers learn the ropes
Yun said that the Jersey City Heights experiences about 20 percent turnover every year, so it’s important to introduce new folks to the charms and amenities of the area.
“Newcomers need to learn where Central Avenue is and where they can go for everyday shopping,” Yun said. “The festival not only introduces them to the businesses but also helps the business community to increase sales.”
Folks without cars have no worries, according to Yun. He points festival-goers to the 87, 10, and 99S buses. The Congress Street light rail stop is also only about four blocks away.
The ever-present threat of rain can make festival planning an angst-ridden activity, but not for Yun.
“Rain, shine, or snow, the festival goes on,” he said. “Thank God I’ve always been very lucky with the weather. It can rain before or after but not during the festival. In more than 20 years, weather wise, I’ve been damned lucky.”
For more information on the Everything Jersey City Festival, call CASID at (201) 656-1366 or visit www.JCHeights.com.
Kate Rounds can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org..