It was Hoboken's annual arts and music festival last Sunday, and more than 50,000 people came out to support the performers and the artists. Headliner Nancy Sinatra delighted the crowd that had settled in the downtown area of the city to see her. She performed for more than an hour, and her set included her most memorable hits from the '60s and '70s. Hoboken Mayor David Roberts presented Sinatra with a proclamation toward the end of her set naming her the "first woman of rock."
After the show, she received a standing ovation, and many lifelong Hobokenites walked up to the stage to thank her for coming back to her late father's hometown. She also will perform at Maxwell's in Hoboken on May 15. Opening for Sinatra was the very popular ska group Skanatra. Led by Fran Azzarto, the 12-piece band had the crowd dancing by the First Street stage with their ska renditions of popular Frank Sinatra tunes.
"The crowd was happening today," Azzarto said. "Hoboken audiences really appreciate what we do."
Singer/songwriter Bill McGarvey also performed at the event. His 2 p.m. set at the First Street stage was well received by the crowd. He is touring the tri-state area in support of his new album Tell Your Mother.
Washington Street was packed with people young and old. Some came out for the food, while others enjoyed the music. Representatives from local museums, restaurants, non-profit groups, and physicians had tables set up alongside the street to promote their cause.
"Every year we receive great feedback and the people really enjoy what we offer," said city cultural affairs Director Geri Fallo. "This event was the biggest event we've ever had. It was a thrill for Hoboken to have Nancy come back and entertain us. She truly rocked."
A special area was set up on Third Street for children's activities. It included a magic show, sing-a-longs, juggling acts, face painting, pony rides, a petting zoo, sand art, temporary tattoos, and rides.
"I brought my children to this event last year and they had fun," said Hoboken parent Nancy Jimenez. "The festival is good for the city because everybody comes out to be together in peace."
The festival's sponsors included The Hudson Current, The Hoboken Reporter, WNEW, The Trust Company Bank of New Jersey, New Jersey Lottery, Bon Secours and Canterbury Partnership for Care, and Metro Homes. For information on the city's fall festival scheduled for September call (201) 420-2207.