Festival-goers also had the opportunity to look at the original art of local and regional artists. More than 300 craftsmen, sculptors, photographers, and painters were set up at individual tables displaying their wares.
Still others came for the music. Headlining this year's event was the '80s world music band the Tom Tom Club, featuring Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, who are best known as former members of the Talking Heads.
Other highlights of the main stage included acoustic-driven rockers Seeking Homer, local favorite Stacie Rhodes, Hoboken's own indie-pop group The Cucumbers, and Mary Lee's Corvett.
The Sixth Street stage was hopping all afternoon with the Hawaiian tunes of the Moonlighters, the folk-pop singing of Amy Fairchild and the salsa beats of Orquestra C2. "The music is always really good," said current Manhattan and former Hoboken resident Scott Jackson. "Even though I have moved out of town, I make it a point to come back for at least one festival a year. There's good food, and you can find really good deals on high quality arts and crafts."
Stacy Gillette of Hoboken brought her beagle to peruse through the legion of different booths and vendors. "They always have a lot of nice thing for sale," said the 35-year-old mother of one. "It seems like every year we end up buying something for our house." By 2:30 p.m. she had already purchased three framed photographs and a brightly colored oil painting.
Another growing aspect of the festival was the activities provided for children. There was a special stage set up on Third Street that provided the city's younger residents with magicians' performances and sing-a-longs. Other activities included an animal petting zoo, a moonwalk, face painting, and other hands-on activities like sand art, spin art, candle art, and rides and games.
To celebrate the opening of the light rail in Hoboken, NJ Transit held its own festival Sunday afternoon. The party, which ran concurrently with the Fall Arts and Music Festival, was held in the front plaza of Erie Lackawanna Terminal and inside the terminal itself.
One of the event's attractions was vintage and modern rail equipment, which was on display for the public. There were also carnival rides for the children and a performance stage set up for the adults. On the stage, featured performers The Damn Lovelys, Hoboken's own alternative rock group Eugene, and the world music group Gul, got the party going.
Bigwigs in town for opening of light rail station
High-level state politicians and transportation officials gathered Saturday, Sept. 21 to hold a press conference to mark the opening of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station in Hoboken.
Gov. James McGreevey hosted the event, which included remarks from U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, U.S. Rep. Robert Menendez, New Jersey State Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chairman Jamie Fox, NJ Transit Executive Director George Warrington, and Hoboken Mayor David Roberts.
"Hudson-Bergen Light Rail underscores our administrations commitment to smart growth," said McGreevey. "It will serve as a catalyst to improve mobility, rebuild our urban centers and stimulate economic development."
The light rail is a modern transit system launched in April 2000 that now operates through Bayonne, Jersey City and Hoboken. Last weekend's launch signals the completion of the project's first stage, Minimum Operable Segment One, which connects the system with NJ Transit, private bus carrier service, commuter rail service, the PATH system and New York Waterway service.
Menendez said that this project is one of the biggest to come to Hudson County in many years. "The funding of the Hudson Bergen Light Rail, the largest federally-funded transportation project in the past few years, is receiving $586.3 million in appropriations through fiscal year 2002, and continues to be one of my top priorities," said Menendez Saturday.
Construction of the six-mile, seven-station second phase, which includes the widening and modernization of the Weehawken Tunnel, is well underway. That segment will extend the light rail south from 34th to 22nd streets in Bayonne and north from the Hoboken Terminal through Weehawken, Union City and North Bergen.
The new Bayonne section is scheduled to open in 2003. The Hoboken Terminal-to-Weehawken Ferry Terminal section in 2004 and the Weehawken Ferry Terminal-to-Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen section in 2005. - Tom Jennemann