By Dawn M Chiossi
Summer: It makes people sigh in contentment, and in yearning. There’s the sunshine, the light stretching out into later hours, warm temperatures, not having to worry about wearing a coat or jacket. When the weather turns to summertime, it seems that people’s moods transform. After all, they don’t call them the lazy, crazy, hazy, days of summer for nothing.
People’s appreciation for the season is a carryover from childhood, when summer was a song of vacations, of socializing with friends, of exploration and pursuits, of days that would never end. Even though people have grown up, shouldering larger and more immediate responsibilities, when the calendar turns to summer, those feelings return. No matter their age, work, or who they are, everyone looks forward to the summer. It is a time to throw off the layers and open up windows. When fabrics and clothing turn to the light and airy, so do attitudes. There’s a freedom and a lightness people have in summertime; walking in the open air, spending more leisure time outdoors, basking in it. There’s so much to do and enjoy; vacations, the beach, trips, picnics, barbecues, parties, and all sorts of outings.
One of these outings is the classic street festival, where streets are closed off and the community comes together to gather and enjoy entertainment of all sorts. Many communities have them and Denville’s tight-knit community is no exception. Kicking off summer, traditionally held on the first Sunday in June, the Denville street festival is slated to be held on Sun. June 2nd.
This widely anticipated long running Street Festival is sponsored by the Denville Rotary, and everyone is invited–from 90 years old on down. For an impressive 38 years, Denville has welcomed in summer with this wonderful event. The street festival is easily considered the most widely attended event in Denville.
The festival will begin at 11:00 a.m. and wrap up at 6:00 p.m. This is an ideal way for attendees not only to get out and enjoy, but also to explore the town and see what gems it has to offer. Located in the heart of Downtown Denville, off of Route 46 and Route 53, the streets of Broadway will be closed. This is not only a chance to get outdoors and soak up the sun, it is a chance for everyone–from residents, to business, to vendors, to organizations–to get out there throwing off their winter doldrums and have a great time. The street festival will be held rain or shine.
There is no admission fee for this great event, but all of the net proceeds will go to benefit Denville Rotary Charities including scholarships, Santaland, Camperships, and so much more.
Denville’s Rotary Street Festival has become so popular that it attracts approximately 20,000 people throughout the day. It even expands through the surrounding areas (even other states!) enticing others.
The Denville Rotary Club is an organization dedicated to make positive changes in the community and the world at large. With a passion for community, service and giving back, Denville Rotary are a hardworking group of people dedicated to paying it forward.
With approximately 48 members, these devoted folks stress service over self, doing so much to help others. Besides the scholarships for high school students to help get into college, the Denville Rotary also passes out dictionaries to elementary school children (something they consider an essential research tool despite the use of the internet), they donate to the community food bank, and much more. Although it is still early, officials are already eagerly anticipating this impressive event.
“This is a wonderful fundraiser for the community,” asserts Co-Chair Michael Boudway. “It takes the full effort of all of the club members to make the day successful.”
Boudway wouldn’t have it any other way. He discloses that he has been involved with the Denville Rotary since 2010. His other Co-Chair, Joe Casey has been with the Rotary since it began.
Boudway says that he has been involved with the Rotary organization ever since he had been in high school, even studying abroad with Rotary International. Rotary International makes a huge impact in approximately 150 countries all over the world such as eradicating Polio and making sure they have clean drinking water. For Boudway, it’s all about doing good, wanting to help, and doing as much as he can.
“It feels good to give back to the community,” he states.
According to Boudway, the whole idea of the street festival was the inspiration of long-time member, Bill Kader, one of the first Rotarians.
“He was searching for a fundraiser to help youths but wanted to get the whole community involved while having fun at the same time.”
Since that time, Denville has never looked back.
Boudway mentions that last year they had approximately 20 sponsors for their street fair and they are actively searching for people and sponsors to participate for this year. Even at this early date, there’s sure to be an ongoing abundance of events and amusements for attendees to enjoy. Last year’s festival held so many delights such as rides, numerous arts and crafts vendors, raffles, great food, a chili cook off, a beer garden, a plethora of bands to set the day to music, a DJ, local talent, martial arts, local dance, a 50/50, and more.
Officials anticipate the same kind of turnout for this upcoming year as they see many of the same vendors signing up, as well as new ones.
“Everything is still in its planning stages,” Boudway says.
But no matter what the entertainment is, no matter what delights or amusements might materialize, for so many the Denville street fair is a guaranteed good time.
“This is so much fun.” Boudway enthuses. “The street fair is a great time to get out, to just walk around and enjoy. It’s a great family friendly event– good for the town and good for the kids who are receiving the scholarships, It’s a win-win.”
For this day long event there will be lots of food and food trucks to choose from; everything from favorites such as ice cream to roast beef and more. In doing the event for so many years, Boudway has his favorite indulgences at this event that he looks forward to eating every year. “The empanadas are phenomenal, as well as the zeppoles. This is the only day of the year that I ever eat fried dough,” he jokes.
Although it is a huge, amazing undertaking for everyone to put on, from the Rotarians to the volunteers, Boudway is grateful for it all, stating the positive benefits are overwhelming. He mentions the long day and the hard work with a smile. For Boudway, it’s all worth it.
“This event is about the camaraderie and a way for everyone to get together for a common goal,” he asserts. “This is truly a group effort. It is so much fun.”
For so many, Denville is a community filled with wonderful supportive people, rallying around the residents, businesses and organizations within it. The street festival is just one example.
“This is an event that draws people in,” Boudway praises. “The street festival is packed, People look forward to it every year. It showcases Denville: The shops, the restaurants. People can just walk around and explore what Denville has to offer for a day.”
When asked what his favorite part of the street festival is, Boudway does not hesitate. “It’s the camaraderie,” he shares. “Seeing people you haven’t seen in a long time, out of their normal routine, they are outside and enjoying themselves. It’s a good time to touch base and catch up.”
What is he hoping for in regard to this year’s festival? The answer is simple, “Good weather” he replies. “We’re hoping for a beautiful day. It’s so much more fun that way.”
For Boudway, it’s still all about paying it forward, inspiring others, and helping others wherever he can. Perhaps the moment that stands out in his mind the most, regarding his efforts with the Denville Rotary, was at the 35th annual Street Festival a few years ago where they honored founder Bill Kader. Boudway describes how they made a plaque to honor Kader, surprising him with it.
“Bill’s so inspirational, so amazing,” Boudway shares. “He’s highly involved with the Rotary, so many of us say ‘let’s give Bill a call to see what we can do.’ It was a wonderful way for everyone to recognize someone who has made it all happen,”
For further information, or details, or to sign up to be a vendor for this year’s 38th Denville Rotary Street Festival, visit www.denvillerotary.org