This year's summer festival changed location from the Old Mill Park in the north end of Secaucus to Laurel Hill County Park in the southern portion of town. Although last year the festival was very successful, said NJMC Commissioner Mike Gonnelli, the Old Mill site presented some logistical problems, as organizers sought to celebrate the river in both Carlstadt and in Secaucus.
"It was just too much to ferry people back and forth," Gonnelli said. "This year the whole festival will be held at one location, and the boats will be used to take tours of the Saw Mill Management area."
Bergen County - which was involved last year - will still be involved in the program, despite the change of location. The day-long party will feature a host of new activities not available last year. Along with pontoon boat rides, wildlife shows and Native American exhibits, this year's event will include rock climbing, a Central Park Zoo's Wildlife Theatre puppet show, and a bee wrangler. Cliffhanger Productions of Rutherford will be bringing a large slide for children, a climbing wall, bungee jumping trampoline and candy art. Clover Farms will be providing pony rides. F&F productions will provide pig races. Flight of Raptor will provide a bird exhibit. Several clown groups will wander through the park or provide a place for face-painting.
Intertribal Indians will set up teepees, while kiddie rides will be set up near the playground area. Main Camera will provide a roving camera for pictures. Sax Man Dan will MC music from the main stage, during those times when Snakes and Scales are not putting on their reptile show at that location. Swift Farms returns this year with its petting zoo.
The festival is designed to show off the on-going ecological recovery of the Hackensack River and HMDC programs enhancing the rebirth of the river
Educational programs will also be made available with groups such as Bergen County Environmental, the state Department of Environmental Protection, FDU Natural Science, the Girl Scouts of American, the Hudson County Improvement Authority, the League of Women's Voters, the Meadowlands Museum, the New Jersey Meadowlands Lobby, PSE&G, Rutgers-Cook College, Teaneck Creek Conservancy, United Water and others presenting information tables.
Jenkinson's Aquarium from Point Pleasant will provide one of the special new attractions. Liberty Science Center from Jersey City is also expected to offer interesting programs, as are other organizations.
While the event will not serve alcohol, it will feature numerous other activities, and if last year's attendance figures are any gauge, as many as 4,000 to 10,000 people could show up.
"All the events except for the food are free," Gonnelli said. Food concessions are being handled by the Little League and Babe Ruth League. This money goes to help fund their programs.
Laurel Hill Park is located at the very end of New County Road in Secaucus. For directions or more information about the festival, call (201) 460-4662. The rain date for the event is June 30.