At the first ever EVERYTHING JERSEY CITY FESTIVAL being held this coming Saturday (May 17) on Central Avenue between Hutton and South Streets in the Heights Section of Jersey City, Legend Awards will be presented to six outstanding local citizens, an internationally famed basketball coach and the players on a nationally ranked basketball team, according to Michael Yun, Festival Chairman. The Legend Awards will be presented at the South Street Stage (Central Avenue & South Street) at 1:00 PM.
Yun, who also serves as Chairman of the Central Avenue Special Improvement District (SID), says the Festival, which runs from 11AM to 6PM,is at attempt to showcase the greatness of Jersey City and its ethnically diverse population. “Jersey City is the gateway to the United States,” Yun said. “Hundreds of thousands of immigrants passed through our city after processing at Ellis Island. Some stayedhere and maintained their rich traditions and customs. Proud of their heritages, they raised their families which added to the rich fabric and tapestry of a growing America. Even today, peoples from other lands continue to emigrate to our shores. Only their nationalities are different. They have made Jersey City one of the most ethnically diverse communities in the United States.”
Yun said that six men and women – Ward D Councilman William Gaughan, retired JCFD firefighter and Scout Master Louis Cappelluti, Jersey City Director of Cultural Affairs Maryanne Kelleher-Arango, community activist Anthony L. Grazioso, Cub and Boy Scout Leader and Little League Manager and Umpire Harry D. Peters and Director of Hudson County Cultural and Heritage Affairs Willian LaRosa, representing third and fourth generations of those immigrants who settled in Jersey City, will be honored at the Festival, along with Robert (Bob) Hurley, long time internationally acclaimed Basketball Coach at Saint Anthony High School, and the players of the 2007-2008 SAHS Team which was ranked the Number 1 High School Boys Basketball Team in the USA.
“As the state’s second largest community, soon to become the greatest city in New Jersey, we thought it was about time to tell the unique story ofwhat makes our community the most livable city in the Garden State by showcasing our talents and qualities,” Yun said.
According to its sponsors, the Everything Jersey City Festival has been planned and oriented to do just that. There will be exhibits of arts and crafts, foods from around the world, demonstrations ofmartial arts, educational, historical and recreational exhibits, dance demonstrations and a host of other activities. Live music and entertainment will be ongoing from two main stages that will be set up atHutton Street and South Street. A third stage sponsored by Nino’s Shoes will be located at Lincoln Street.
Interestingly, all the stores and shops along Central Avenue will be opened for business, Yun stressed. “We want our merchants and shopkeepers to play an active role in this festival since they are joint sponsors of this event,” he said.
Yun, a Korean native who emigrated to the United States in (date) and settled in Jersey City where he and his parents opened a stationery and convenience store on Central Avenue at Bowers Street, said he has seen a metamorphosis take place in his adopted community. Just look at what has happened along our Hudson River Waterfront and is spreading to other parts of the City. “When we started our business on Central Avenue in (date) there were many vacant stores. Now you see more and more store fronts being renovated and remodeled. The streetscape also adds to the ambiance of our area. The Central Avenues Special Improvement District (SID) has enabled our neighborhood businesses to survive and prosper as more and more people relocate to the Heights,” Yun said.
The general public is encouraged to attend the free day long event. “After all,” Yun said, “they are the men, women and children for whom the Everything Jersey City Festival is being held. It is our residents who make Jersey City so unique!”