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  • Writer's pictureJoseph F. Berenato

Downtown events in Aug., Sept., Oct.

On August 20, 2020 downtown featured its monthly Third Thursday event with the theme “Blues, Brews & BBQ.” Vincent Dovico Jr. holds a tray with six stacks of ribs at West End Grill. (THG/Kristin Guglietti. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

HAMMONTON—The next several months promise to be busy ones for visitors to downtown Hammonton.

Cassie Iacovelli, MainStreet Hammonton’s executive director, said that the next three Third Thursday events should be entertaining ones, starting with August 19.

“The theme is Blues, Brews & BBQ, so pour it down and fire it up,” Iacovelli said.

September 16, Iacovelli said, is Fiesta Third Thursday, and is being planned with input from Allies in Caring.

“We’re just starting to meet on that. It’s going to be music; it’s going to be authentic food. It’ll be an authentic Latino evening; we’ll be putting the flags up again, and we’re adding to the flags this year to be more representative. There’ll be flags along the downtown to kick off the month. That evening has a very festival kind of feeling,” Iacovelli said.

In October, Third Thursday falls on October 21, and Iacovelli said that “Ghosts” is the theme.

“That group has already had some really good scary stories they’ve been working on, and doing a great job. We’ll do the ghost tours again, too,” Iacovelli said.

Besides Third Thursday, downtown Hammonton will see a number of special events.

On August 7—with a rain date of August 8—the downtown will see its first Hammonton Arts and Music Festival, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Horton St.

Don Swenson, president of Art Club Hammonton and the organizer of the festival, said that three musical acts are planned for the event.

“The first band in the lineup is Sure Fire Broadcast. The second one is the Screamin’ Rockets, and the last is a Philly artist who’s going to be joining us; his name is Ali Awan,” Swenson said.

In addition to the music, Swenson said that the festival will feature roughly 20 different vendors.

“Most of the local arts organizations will be joining us to show a little bit about what they do in Hammonton to spread engagement for the visual arts. We’re working on performances, hopefully, from the Eagle Theatre and Paul Morris DanceXplosion. We’ll be having live demonstrations; everything from painting demonstrations to somebody’s doing body painting. We have a life-drawing session that we’re going to be holding for the day,” Swenson said.

Swenson said that, though there will be no food vendors for the festival, there will be options presented to attendees.

“We’re creating swag bags that will have information that directs them towards a lot of the local businesses,” Swenson said.

Swenson said that he and the other organizers are “really excited to celebrate the rich tapestry of artists that live and create around Hammonton.”

“We’re excited to bring this event around to engage the community with all that is available right in their neighborhood,” Swenson said.

One week later, on August 14, the 8th Annual Peach Party will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Organizer Linda Cashan said that many of the same vendors from past Peach Parties will be in attendance.

“Of course, our most important vendor is Pastore Orchards, who will be back again this year, providing not only the same delicious peaches last time, but—because we moved it to mid-August at their request—they have even more varieties available, which they didn’t have when we had it at the end of July,” Cashan said.

Cashan said that the Peach Party will have a live bluegrass band, as well as “games and activities for the families, and delicious food.”

“Some of the food we have is Maui Shaved Ice, Olde World Cannoli, Matty G Dogz, Twisted Lemonade, Kitchen 19—with their grilled peach salad—and Casciano will have their peach hand pies. We’re also having a new, exciting one called Get Pickled that sells Korean food. We’ll also have Emma Wuillermin’s Farmhouse Confections,” Cashan said.

The Peach Party will have one event, which Cashan said is “the most important event, and that’s the annual Peach Fuzz Contest.”

“That’s for the best fuzzy-headed baby, 1 year or younger. They get their picture taken there, and it’s voted on by the organizers of the festival,” Cashan said.

St. Joseph Academy will be holding an event on Thursday, August 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at its 328 Vine St. campus. A chicken barbecue will be held.  Tickets are $12 each.  A car show will also be held that day with Lou Costello from 92.1 FM who will broadcast live from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If people would like tours of the school during the day, they will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., St. Joseph Academy President Nicola Howard said.

This event is being held to promote awareness of the Academy, Howard said.

The school president said newcomers and visitors to the school have reacted positively to the high school.

“The reaction is very positive. We are providing an excellent curriculum along with education and well-rounded athletic and student life.  We have an 11-1 student to faculty ratio. It is a family environment.  It is very positive,” Howard said.

She said the school is increasing dual-credit courses with Atlantic County Community College and Camden County College.  A series of business classes will also be offered this fall, Howard said.

For more information or to schedule a tour, please call (609) 561-8700.

On August 21, the Hammonton Food Truck Festival will return from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Iacovelli said that the event will take place along Bellevue Avenue, South Second Street, Horton Street and Central Avenue.

“It’s similar to other years. We’ll have over 25 food trucks. It’s a very similar set-up; the only difference is that we’ll have an emcee this year on Central Avenue, a DJ from a company called BME Event Group. We decided to go with a DJ that is more like a personality, because the band that we’re having over at the beer garden is called Isn’t It Always?. We’ll have a beer garden on the grounds behind Casciano’s, and we will have five different beer companies with us,” Iacovelli said.

The Puerto Rican Civic Association (PRCA) of Hammonton, N.J. will be having their annual Puerto Rican Week this year, starting on Sunday, August 29.

This two-day event will begin as the members of the association attend the 11:30 a.m. Spanish Mass at St. Joseph Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, located at 226 French St. Shortly after the Mass, the Puerto Rican community, along with other Hispanic groups, will be preparing to have their annual procession that will begin promptly at 2 p.m. in front of the church.

They will then parade downtown to Hammonton Town Hall for the ceremony of the raising of the flags of both the United States and Puerto Rico.

All are cordially invited to participate in this event. Immediately following the ceremony, the festivities will continue at the PRCA’s clubhouse located at 367 Old Forks Rd. in Hammonton, where there will be live music and traditional food.

The events are as follows:

• August 29: Ceremony at town hall, followed by festivities at the PRCA clubhouse.

• September 4: Festivities continue from noon to 11 p.m. at the PRCA clubhouse.

The Touch-a-Truck event also makes a comeback this year on August 29, from noon to 4 p.m.

“That’s similar to years in the past, on South Second Street and behind Casciano’s,” Iacovelli said, noting that there will be trucks of all sizes for children to enjoy and explore.

Cruisin’ MainStreet, which showcases classic cars up and down Bellevue Avenue, will take place on September 17, with a rain date of September 18.

“It’s the classic Cruisin’ Main Street,” Iacovelli said.

On October 9, the town will experience its second Clocktoberfest. The first, in 2019, was organized by the Hammonton Town Clock Committee to raise money to refurbish the town’s street clock. This event will celebrate the completion of the project.

“We’re going to dedicate the refurbished town clock, and we’re going to have the band Stealing Savanah from noon to 5 p.m. We’ll have food, too,” organizer Bob Schenk said, noting that details will follow.

Downtown Trick-or-Treat will be held on October 23, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., with a rain date of October 30. As in years past, children of all ages are encouraged to dress in their favorite costumes and walk from business to business collecting candy and goodies and engaging in a number of activities.

On October 27, the Hammonton Kiwanis Club will hold its 45th Annual Halloween Parade at 7 p.m.

Schenk, who is also the organizer of the parade, noted that 2019 was the 44th year that Kiwanis sponsored the parade but “we didn’t have it last year.”

“Now, since we skipped a year, this’ll be our 45th year that Kiwanis is sponsoring the Halloween parade. We took it over from the JayCees; the Junior Chamber of Commerce used to run it. We’ve been doing it ever since,” Schenk said.

Schenk said that the parade—which begins at the corner of Egg Harbor Road and Bellevue Avenue, then proceeds down Bellevue Avenue to Third Street—annually gives close to $1,000 in cash prizes for various acts.

“We usually have three marching bands—Hammonton, Buena and Winslow Twp.—and we expect them this year. We encourage individuals to participate. They can dress up, and they don’t have to pre-register. They just come to Orchard Street and Egg Harbor Road at 6 p.m., and they can sign up and walk in the parade. We do require pre-registration for any floats or groups. Details will follow,” Schenk said.

Schenk said that he was excited to be able to hold the parade again.

“We missed out last year, so I think everyone’s looking forward to it. It’s a good event; we get a lot of people. It’s a good time of year, because summer’s over and people are looking for something to do in the fall,” Schenk said.

Gina Rullo contributed to this report.


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