Rutherford Day 2021
By Jennifer Ersalesi
Art credit: Kim Bogosian
For the first time ever, the Borough of Rutherford will host Rutherford Day on Saturday, October 2nd from 11 am until 4 pm at Memorial Field. Children and adults will be able to enjoy a number of activities sponsored by non-profit organizations, local businesses, and service groups. This is Rutherford spoke with Kim Bogosian, Communication Manager for the Borough, and Borough Administrator Robert Kakoleski about this special day.
TIR: Where did the idea for Rutherford Day come from?
Kim Bogosian: During the height of COVID, Mayor Nunziato was looking for events the Borough could plan that would create a sense of community for when things began to open up. He had this vision for a town-wide event that any Rutherford organization could take part in.
Robert Kakoleski: As we all know, Mayor Nunziato is a man of the people and he loves celebrating Rutherford. While Rutherford is known as the “Borough of Trees”, we have also jokingly referred to it as the “Borough of Events”. Unfortunately, the pandemic caused us to cancel all of the traditional events in town. Before his illness and throughout his recovery, Mayor Nunziato discussed having an event that would bring everyone together once restrictions were lifted and we were comfortable.
TIR: What are the goals of hosting this event?
KB: Beyond being a day to celebrate community, Rutherford Day offers a platform for many of our local non-profit organizations to get back out in front of people for the first time in almost two years. There were a lot of fundraising opportunities lost during COVID and Rutherford Day gives these groups the advertising and location to be easily visible and re-introduce themselves to our residents post-COVID.
RK: I would say we want to celebrate Rutherford and all the people and groups who make up this community. We want to provide a forum for our community organizations, service groups, and businesses to promote themselves and highlight who they are and what they do for Rutherford.
Also, the last year and a half has been a challenge for fundraising; especially for our non-profit groups. So, we are encouraging these participating groups to be creative and use this day as a fundraising opportunity.
With this being a new event, there has been some uncertainty on what to expect from both the groups looking to participate and ourselves. We will learn from this and look to improve and expand upon it next year. We will only benefit from the experience and the additional planning time. We hope the success of this event spreads throughout the community and more groups plan on participating.
TIR: When and where will Rutherford Day take place?
RK: October 2nd – Memorial Field 11am to 4pm…then transition to “Dining Out Rutherford” event on Park Ave with a concert from “Super Trans Am” featuring Rutherford native James McGill.
TIR: Rutherford Day is for residents of all ages. What are some of the activities children will enjoy? How about the adults?
KB: The Rutherford Volunteer Ambulance Corps is hosting a classic car show and beer garden, sponsored by BCB Bank. On the heels of COVID, the Ambulance Corps is in need of as many fundraising opportunities as they can get.
The REF is hosting a Cornhole Tournament for adults. Those interested can email Andy Michalski at email@example.com. The REF would like to thank Chuck Olivo of Native Development for sponsoring that event.
The Elks is hosting a youth soccer shootout for kids 15 and under. Those interested in participating can contact Beth Toole at firstname.lastname@example.org. The annual Remembrance Softball Game organized by St. Mary's alumni will be held at Diamond 5. We have almost two dozen community organizations that are having informational tents as well as activities for kids including a children's cornhole tournament by the Junior Woman's Club as well as several food trucks and local food vendors.
RK: The Borough’s Communication Manager, Kim Bogosian, has taken the lead on this project and has been reaching out to the community soliciting participants. At this time, the planning has pretty much been finalized and the space allocated to the participating groups.
There will be a scaled-down version of our “Touch-a-Truck” event with Borough vehicles on display and available for exploration. Several youth groups, including Rutherford Rocks”, will be providing musical entertainment throughout the day.
TIR: The Memorial Field Parking Lot will be closed. Other than street parking, will there be other parking or transportation options?
KB: Felician University is generously offering a continuous shuttle bus from their Montross Ave parking lot location to Darwin Ave at Memorial Field. The Borough is interested to see how many of our residents will utilize this free service which will lessen the strain on the local streets surrounding the fields.
TIR: Why would you encourage Rutherford residents to attend Rutherford Day?
KB: For those who may be newer to town, Rutherford Day will be a great way to learn about what's going on in Rutherford and how to become involved in the community. Representatives from the Borough and Library will be on hand with information about how to sign up for newsletters and the emergency notification system, which was very useful during the flooding from Ida. For veteran Rutherfordians, Rutherford Day will be a great excuse to get out and see a lot of people who they may not have seen in a year or two, since many of the annual fundraising events that we have become accustomed to haven't happened in a while.
RK: Unlike the Labor Day Street Fair (which brings in thousands from throughout the region), we want this event to have more of a Rutherford feel. The groups participating are primarily Rutherford residents – your neighbors – your friends. It will be a beautiful day in the park hanging out with your family and friends. There is something to do for all ages. Of course, I encourage everyone to end this wonderful event by enjoying an outdoor dinner at one of our fine restaurants on a closed Park Ave and listen to the music of Super Trans Am.