There will be something for everyone with rides galore, games of chance, music, dancing, clowns, and live cartoon characters. In addition, free food and refreshments will be available.
The best part of the day is that everything is free of charge, provided that residents are properly pre-registered.
Registration for the Weehawken Day Festival began Saturday in the trailers behind Town Hall (the building is still closed while undergoing major renovations) and will continue Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Know before you go
Plain and simple, if you want to attend the festival, you must pre-register during those times. You also must bring proof of residence for the registration.
"Once they do, they will receive an entry card into the festival," said Weehawken Recreation Director Chuck Barone, who once again helped to coordinate the event. "There will be no registration at the festival, so everyone is encouraged to go to Town Hall and pick up the entry cards. Registration beforehand is the key."
Barone said that there will be township employees near Town Hall all week during the registration period to help the residents with the registration process.
"We know with Town Hall being closed and everyone in the trailers, there could be some confusion as to where to go," Barone said. "This way, we have people outside Town Hall who will offer assistance."
Also, there will be transportation available on the day of the event for those who need to be brought to the festival. Parking is limited at the site, so residents are encouraged to use the free shuttle service that will have pick-ups at the township's three schools and the senior citizen residence at 525 Gregory Ave.
The shuttle service will begin an hour before the start of the festival and will run every 15 minutes. The return trips will continue for at least an hour after the festival ends. Barone said that the organizers have tried to keep the events and features of the festival that have been popular over the years.
"We pretty much follow what we've done in the past," Barone said. "Everything is pretty much the same. We don't want to change much."
Last year, more than 6,500 residents attended the event.
"It's going to be bigger and better than ever this year," vowed Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner.
New attractions, old favorites
A new attraction to the festival this year will be guided tours of the new Weehawken Park and Recreation Center, which will officially open four days before the festival.
"We're going to have people dedicated to taking people to tour the park if they like," Turner said. "There's a lot of enthusiasm this year because of the park."
There will be a diaper derby for toddlers, where infants under 18 months are asked to crawl around a course as fast as possible. There will be a Bingo contest for the Bingo enthusiasts of all ages. There will be arts and crafts, with face painting, caricature drawings and an assortment of things for the little ones.
There will be a carnival midway with games of chance. There will be a mini-circus to entertain all circus fanatics. There will be a hayride and a train ride for little ones to enjoy.
Live music will be provided by Weehawken resident Donald Jodice and his band, Weehawken resident Joe Cimino and his band, the popular Roy Meyer Swingers and the music of the Big Band era, and 50s a capella group The Decibelles, featuring Weehawken actress and performer Donna Coney Island.
The Weehawken High School marching band will also make a grand appearance, marching right down the center of the festival and performing for the audience.
As for rides, the popular rock climbing wall will make a return appearance. There will be inflatable slides and jumping machines. Also slated for a return engagement are the popular children's characters like Barney the Purple Dinosaur, Dora the Explorer, Elmo and others, who will perform and greet the youngsters.
There will be plenty of free hot dogs, hamburgers and veggie burgers, cooked and prepared by the 350 or so volunteers who give of their time to make the event run smoothly. Free soft drinks and other goodies are also available.
There will also be an assortment of information tables throughout the area, providing info and details about the township's many different organizations and groups.
"Every group in the town is involved," Turner said. "All the schools, churches and civic associations set up tables. It's a great opportunity for newcomers to learn about their community. There's historic stuff about the town as well. It's very informational. The newcomers can see what Weehawken is all about."
Turner said that the festival always brings out what's truly the best about Weehawken.
"We pride ourselves in our small town atmosphere," Turner said. "That's the whole goal of having a day like this. It's a great festive atmosphere that fosters that small town feeling. It makes people feel comfortable and proud to be from Weehawken."
In case of rain on Saturday, the rain date is scheduled for Sunday at the same times.
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or email@example.com