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  • Writer's pictureCraig Richards

Inaugural MainStreet Gala a resounding success


Photo Courtesy Elizabeth Pantalone/Elizabeth Grace Photography The MainStreet Hammonton/Hammonton Revitalization Corporation board and leadership team is pictured at the Inaugural Gala on April 13 at Tomasello Winery. Pictured (l-r): Jim Bacon, Eileen Unger, Dave Ingemi, Rich Rehmann, Christina Birchler, Bertha Velazquez Iacovelli, William Olivo, Allison Caracciolo Gallagher, Jason Michelini, MainStreet Executive Director Mica McCullough, Ellen Lauletta and Ben Ott. For more photos from the event, see Pages 10 and 23.

HAMMONTON—The debut of the MainStreet Gala on April 13 proved to be a unifying force, much like the vibrant downtown itself. Hosted at Tomasello Winery, the event marked 40 years of dedicated growth and commitment to Hammonton’s downtown region and community overall.


Dubbed “Cheers to 40 Years in the Making,” the gala attracted a diverse array of attendees, including public officials, MainStreet leaders, volunteers, business owners and community supporters. It was a joyous occasion that brought together every facet of Hammonton for an evening filled with delectable cuisine, warm camaraderie and lively entertainment.


The ambiance of the Tomasello ballroom, coupled with the exquisite meals and lively atmosphere, set the stage for reflection on the Hammonton Revitalization Corporation (HRC)/MainStreet’s numerous achievements while also providing a backdrop for a night of celebration, networking, music and dance.


Beyond its celebratory nature, the gala served a crucial secondary purpose. Like many non-profit endeavors, Hammonton MainStreet relies on significant resources to host its impressive lineup of community events each year. The gala serves as an additional means to generate funds that offset the costs of these numerous events, which are offered free to the community.


Richard Rehmann, President of HRC, expressed the gala’s significance: “Tonight, we hope to establish an annual tradition of celebrating HRC/MainStreet’s accomplishments while also generating the necessary funds to sustain our success. This event symbolizes both emotional and financial support for dedicated individuals and their efforts in advancing the HRC mission.”


Many communities across the U.S. have struggled with the decline of their downtown districts, losing not just a physical space but also a vital part of their identity. However, initiatives developed and launched by the HRC and Hammonton MainStreet program have breathed new life into these areas, reinvigorating business climates and fostering a renewed sense of community pride.


The HRC, through its MainStreet program, has strategically focused time, energy and resources on revitalizing centralized businesses, leading to a broader community-wide resurgence in commerce. For four decades, HRC’s efforts have revitalized Historic Hammonton’s business landscape.


Mica McCullough, MainStreet Hammonton Executive Director, reflected on the gala’s significance: “Our first gala coinciding with HRC’s 40th anniversary and the Main Street Program’s 31st anniversary was truly special. It allowed us to celebrate past revitalization efforts, acknowledge ongoing contributions and look ahead to a collaborative future.”

The gala highlighted HRC’s vision for Downtown Hammonton as a vibrant, community-centered district offering unique retail experiences, authentic dining and cultural celebrations. Through partnerships with local entities, HRC aims to make downtown a destination for all, fostering a dynamic environment for shopping, dining, working, and leisure.


Moreover, vibrant downtown areas often enhance resident engagement, offering bustling retail destinations, entertainment events and pedestrian-friendly environments. Rehmann noted, “A strong MainStreet and downtown area create a foundation for a strong overall community, ultimately benefiting Hammonton as a whole.”


With a successful gala and ongoing support, Downtown Hammonton’s transformation is well underway, promising a bright future for this historic community.


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