As the summer winds down, the Belleville mayor and council are extending a party invitation.
“Come join us on Tuesday, Sept. 18, from 6 to 10 p.m. for the seventh annual ‘Just a Party’ at the Walgreens shopping plaza on Franklin Avenue, between Joralemon Street and Continental Avenue,” First Ward Councilwoman Marie Strumolo Burke said. “It has been great every year we’ve done it.”
The rain date is Monday, Sept. 24.
"Just a Party" is an annual event open to all Belleville residents that features food, musical entertainment and attractions for kids, Burke said.
The evening will include outdoor dining and dancing and musical entertainment by the bands Jersey Sound, Beauty and the Grease along with other surprise entertainment. The goal of the party, said the governing body, is to please everyone in attendance.
Local restaurants and food vendors will offer a variety of food items such as zeppoles, sausage and peppers, pizza, steak sandwiches, and many other foods, according to officials.
Officials said the night gives children ice cream, cotton candy, popcorn, face painting, tattoos, rides and games including a climbing wall, all free of charge. There will also be special appearances by Batman in his “Batmobile”, Ronald McDonald and the Wendy’s hamburger Girl, they said.
The idea was first developed by Burke, who soon gained the support of Mayor Raymond Kimble, the rest of the council along with state Assemblyman Ralph Caputo.
The goal was to bring the Community together in a family-oriented setting and party atmosphere, officials said.
“It’s heartwarming to see the wonderful help and support we have received from town officials, local businesses and Clara Maass Medical Center,” Burke said.
Officials said Essex County Executive, Joseph DiVincenzo, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, Belleville police, fire and public works and township officials all join forces to close Franklin Avenue and let town residents use Hendricks Golf Course down the street as a parking lot for shuttle service to the site.
Belleville Health Department officials, Belleville’s Community Emergency Response Team and especially Tom Kim, the owner of Belleville Shopping Plaza also cooperate each year to make the party happen, officials said.
“Crowds in previous years have been estimated at as many as 8,000 people joining for a safe night of music, food and fun,” Burke said in an interview. “It’s a final salute to summer.”
In the past there have been no security problems, and people have a good, safe time, according to Police Chief Joseph Rotonda.