Bayonne’s First Ward was bustling with things to do on Saturday, Sept. 7. The town saw some beautiful weather to accompany the lineup of festivities.
At DiDomenico Park on 16th Street, dozens of kayakers launched in Newark Bay for the town’s annual Paddle the Peninsula event.
The floating party was protected by Coast Guard personnel, as kayakers cruised around the bay. The backdrop of Newark’s busy port made for great photo ops for folks on the water and on the shore.
City officials joined the kayakers. Councilman Sal Gullace may have experienced a bit more of Newark Bay than he bargained for after his kayak capsized while he posed for a photo. But he seemed to take the dunking in stride.
On land, Bayonne officials and other volunteers tended the grill, there were games, and a live DJ for attendees who weren’t on the water.
Bayonne Nature Club’s Mike Ruscigno, who showed up in full pirate regalia, wasn’t there to pillage and plunder, but to let everyone know about the Bayonne Nature Club’s birding events, shoreline cleanups, and other get-togethers.
The Bayonne Water Guardians were on hand to talk about statewide upgrades to combined sewer systems and green infrastructure projects for homeowners.
Slugging for a cause
Just a few hundred feet away from the kayaking event, a local chapter of the Freemasons took on the local Knights of Columbus in their 26th annual charity softball game.
Each year, they choose a cause to raise funds for, which benefit members or groups making positive impacts in the community.
This year, proceeds from the game went to the family of Avier Burgos, a 14-year-old who suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, so that he could have access to a wheelchair-accessible van.
Artists shine at the peninsula’s tip
Hundreds of residents turned out to the third annual Bridge Arts Festival at Dennis P. Collins Park, where dozens of artists tended popup booths to showcase their work. While the festival predominantly featured works from artists based in Bayonne and other parts of Hudson County, artists specializing in photography, painting, mixed media, and more from across New Jersey attended.
This year’s sound stage featured numerous local bands and artists, with sound check courtesy of Igor Martinez and Paul Addie of L&I Studios, a local recording studio and rehearsal space just a few blocks away on Kennedy Boulevard.
This year’s musical lineup featured a performance by Audra Mariel with the Bayonne-based Anthony Fuscaldo Trio, international jazz artist LaKecia Benjamin, 18-year-old Newark jazz phenom Alexis Morrast, and Venezuela’s MV Caldera.
The dance stage, hosted by Heather Smith, showcased performances by the Surati Dance Company, Prince Jamain Victor and the #TapLife Dance Company.
Founder Cheryl Mack spoke highly of the collaborative efforts that went into this year’s celebration.
“This year, we are thrilled to showcase our strong partnerships with many outstanding arts organizations like the Newark Arts Festival, Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs, our ongoing collaboration with Tempest Productions, and of course our phenomenal relationship with the Rutgers University Institute of Jazz Studies,” she said.
For updates on this and more stories check hudsonreporter.com or follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Mike Montemarano can be reached at email@example.com.