by Steve Sears
The Township of Livingston is holding its 83rd Annual 4th of July Celebration on July 4th starting with family activities at 9:00 a.m. and ending with fireworks at 9:15 p.m. All events will be held on or near Memorial Oval on Robert Harp Drive.
The event, which was first held in 1936, is more than just fireworks. It is a big community event that includes a Classic Car Show, Kiwanis Swim Carnival, live bands, plenty of food, and much more.
“It’s a very elaborate process. We have a committee of 12 to 15 individuals that help coordinate the fireworks,” claims Liliana Branquinho, Township of Livingston Senior & Adult Enrichment and Special Events Supervisor. Scott Maynard and Elliot Sherman are 4th of July Co-Committee Chairpersons. “These two people are instrumental in the planning of the our 4th of July Festivities. They have been volunteering for over 28 years,” says Branquinho.
Branquinho affirms it’s not an easy event to run. “There’s a lot of different intricacies. We have one of the largest auto shows on the 4th of July in the state. This year is our 26th year and we have over 200 cars that come in.” The car show is coordinated by committee member Steve Lichtenstein, who has been doing it for over 25 years.
There are also many other activities to be coordinated on the day, as well as securing sponsorships prior to. “Sponsorships are crucial, and the majority come from local businesses. Fireworks this year will be sponsored by Summit Medical Group. The Main Stage Entertainment with Bon Jovi Tribute band “Wanted DOA” is sponsored by Saint Barnabas Medical Center. We are still waiting to confirm some future sponsors.” After sponsorships are secured, the committee hires the folks providing activities for the day, such as pony rides (sponsored by Regal Bank) and other kids programs, a DJ to play music for the kids as they play, Powerhouse Studios Wacky Sports (providing a truck with video games for kids), an ice cream eating contest, bouncy rides and games, coordinating the biergarten (“It absolutely has been a focal point of the afternoon activities,” says Branquinho) which is now a Bands, Beer, & Wine Café featuring live bands (must be 21 with ID to purchase) from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The before mentioned runs simultaneously with a food truck festival. Main Stage Entertainment then takes over at 7:45 p.m., with the fireworks following on its heels at 9:15 p.m.
“Throughout the day, the purpose is to have things that are interesting for everyone to do,” Branquinho emphasizes. Children, teens, families, and senior citizens will be well entertained.
In case of inclement weather, daytime activities will be held in the Livingston High School cafeteria, and afternoon and evening performances will go on as scheduled on a covered stage. Rain date for fireworks is July 5, 9:15 p.m.
For more information about the big day, visit www.livingstonnj.org/1061/July-4th-Celebration.