Thousands came to Bergen Point on Saturday, October 13, for the annual Bergen Point Fall Festival. On a brisk and sunny 60-degree day, Broadway between 8th and 5th streets was closed to traffic and opened to pedestrians. Dining tables and food vendors were on hand. A music stage was set up near the Route 440 underpass where an a capella group sang oldies while the crowd sang along.
The Bayonne Urban Enterprise Zone, which organizes the festival, gave out free Halloween-themed donuts, dogs participated in a costume contest, kids bounced on inflatable rides, played boardwalk-style games, made sand art, and looked on as the Windmill Alliance hosted a car and motorcycle show.
“That car is really fast,” said Jameis, a toddler watching what looked like a row of giant hot wheels. Pointing at a classic Ford Mustang, he said, “I have that one at home.”
Other kids were entertained by a group of actors playing pirates. Kids decorated paper pirate hats, wore eye patches, and drew a pirate ship on the pavement with chalk.
Pirates and politicians
“Line up, my pirates,” said a pirate actor to a group of giggling kids, who were lined up before the chalk pirate ship. “We’re going to walk the plank.”
More dogs were wearing Halloween costumes than people this year. Football jerseys celebrating the start of football season and t-shirts supporting board of education candidates were more common. At the height of election season, many candidates set up tables to meet and greet potential voters. Meanwhile, flyers to vote for Democratic Senator Bob Menendez or his Republican challenger, Bob Hugin, were being handed out.
“The people here are very nice and festive,” — Penny Dee
The political costumes weren’t nearly as eye-catching as Marty Coretti and Captain Bayonne, who staked out their own table to sell copies of their amateur comedy film shot in Bayonne.
“I get a lot of looks,” said Coretti, who was wearing a green superhero costume with an accessory belt, complete with a fart gun. “Kids love this stuff. I’ve been getting a lot of photos.”
Penny Dee, who plays a role in the film, drove from Pennsylvania to attend the festival.
“The people here are very nice and festive,” said Dee, wearing a bright red wing. “I’ve seen a lot of kids dressed as princesses, unicorns, kitty cats. Adults think they’ve outgrown it, but some adults keep the kid inside. Those are the smart ones.”
Rory Pasquariello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org