By Elsie Walker
September 11th is the date, and Main Street will be the place, to celebrate: it’s Netcong Day!
The day kicks off at 10:30 a.m. with a 5K race. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. at Borough Hall on Maple Street that will take participants around town and by beautiful Lake Musconetcong. That is followed by the opening of the street festival at 11 a.m. where sounds including Bobby Valli and sights like Disney Princesses will be among the entertainment of the day. Of course, there will also be vendors selling food, crafts and goods, and informational booths on various organizations.
Also, 9/11 will be remembered through a Tribute to America.
“I think Netcong is the ultimate small town, and this event captures a lot of that,” said Borough Administrator Ralph Blakeslee. “Many different components come together for the day: recreation, municipal governing, private sector organizations.”
Resident Leigh Ann Von Hagen, a trustee of the Netcong Community Partnership, echoed the sentiments about the day and the town, “The day pays homage to our strong community roots. [At Netcong Day] you will experience some good vibes, familiar faces, food, music and memories. It is organized by the Netcong Borough and Netcong Recreation Commission with support from Netcong Community Partnership. “
The day begins with the 5K race which is opened to all runners and walkers. It offers ribbons in ten different categories, including a medal for runners over 80 years old. Once again, Mayor Joe Nametko will be personally sponsoring a silver cup trophy for the fastest male and fastest female runners.
“Netcong’s 5K Run is not only a U.S. Track and Field sanctioned race, we invite runners of all calibers and walkers to join in the excitement,” said Nametko, who shared that participants have mentioned how nice it is to run along the bank of the lake. However, that’s not all the runners and walkers enjoy.
“I have received emails and personal comments from NCAA runners and parents pushing carriages on how exciting it is to start the 5K with the music from the Lenape Valley High School Marching Band playing their “Fight Song” and then [again], as they enter Main Street, the LVRHS Marching Band and over 50 LVRH Cheerleaders cheering them on as they run pass the vendors on Main Street,” Nametko said.
There are some other perks, too.
“Shop Rite provides fresh fruit, bananas and oranges, for every runne,” Nametko said. “We provide plenty of pre and post-race drinks and food along with one of the best Runners’ ‘goodie bags’ in the state. This year, we are giving every runner a long sleeve shirt in the goodie bag. We offer free before and after race massages for all walkers and runners.”
While there is same day registration for the race, there is also registration online at https://runsignup.com/Race/NJ/Netcong/NetcongDay5KStreetFairandMusicFest.
At 11 a.m., the street fair begins. Booths will line the streets with things to sell or information to share. Among the booths are vendors including It Works, Mary Kay, and Usborne books; booths selling food, jewelry, stuffed animals, and other items, and local churches, organizations, and businesses sharing what they do.
“The Netcong Community Partnership is a proud supporter of Netcong Day because our small businesses care about our community and support community functions and events,” said Von Hagen. “Netcong Day is an opportunity to showcase the variety of independent businesses that include restaurants, beauty services, entertainment and arts classes, financial and insurance enterprises and convenience markets that are the heart of our town. It’s a way to celebrate our neighbors and neighborhood and thank people who shop and dine local. We all look forward to Netcong Day!” NCP will again have its “I Love Netcong” photo booth, he noted.
The day will also offer a variety of entertainment for all ages. Once again, there will be a Family Fun Zone offering free fun for kids with bouncy house, slide and more. DJ Peace will keep the spirits high and get people moving. Also, returning this year is the twin sister singing duo of Nalani & Sarina who will entertain the crowd with their mix of traditionalist soul-rock and modern pop. In addition to these, there is other entertainment including some new faces, one with a distinctive “Jersey” sound.
“Musical singer-entertainer extraordinaire Bobby Valli, the younger brother of music icon Frankie Valli, will sings Frankie Valli (‘The Jersey Boys’) as only a Valli can. [Also] new this year is a meet-and-greet with Anna and Elsa from Disney’s ‘Frozen’ as they visit all the little princesses and princes in Netcong for the day,” said Von Hagen.
During this time of celebration, there will also be remembrance. Netcong Day will take time to remember 9/11.
“We will honor all of our American heroes that day as ‘Netcong Celebrates America,’ sayd Nametko. “We are working with the U.S. Marine Corp to have an Honor Guard kick off the Music Fest at noon time. Earlier, right before the kick off of the 5K Race/Run, we will begin with a moment of silence prior to the Lenape Valley Regional High School Marching Band playing the “Star Spangle Banner,” remembering the thousands of people who have given their lives for our great country, the fallen officers who have given their lives protecting us and the victims of the 9/11 tragedy.”
For more information on Netcong Day, visit its official website at https://netcong.org/netcong-day.