You know you’re from Berkeley Heights when the Fourth of July fireworks are just an average “pre-game” to the Feast of Mount Carmel, when you love the July 16 feast in Berkeley Heights more than Christmas, when you look forward to July 16 more than your own wedding day.
The list goes on.
The Facebook page, “You know you’re from Berkeley Heights when…” is smattered with memories of old teachers, houses and “that random guy that used to walk around,” bringing together a community that’s solid in it’s foundation and rooted in all residents – past and present, said Jim Skidmore, a Berkeley Heights resident.
Based on the popularity of the Facebook page, and the inherent love for the Feast of Mount Carmel celebration on July 16, Skidmore, along with other residents, will be hosting Heights Fest, a “hometown homecoming” meant to bring the neighborhood together to celebrate its roots, on Saturday, August 4.
Skidmore, along with resident Mickey Mangarelli, saw the popularity of the Facebook group, noting how people who no longer live in Berkeley Heights were reminiscing about their time in the town, prompting them to pitch a huge homecoming event to the town.
After support from the Chamber of Commerce, the mayor’s office and several council members, the first ever Heights Fest was born, he said.
And on August 4 (with a rain date on August 5) he expects a few hundred Berkeley Heighters – some who were born and raised, some who own businesses and others who passed through – to come and reconnect with the town and the people who made it.
“It’s a warm opportunity to see folks who you haven’t seen in a while,” Skidmore said. It’s difficult to get back together, and that was enough of a driver for this.”
Since its inception, Skidmore has already seen the interest rise, with more than a few 100 people expressing interest in attending. Tickets are currently on sale for the event ($29.99 for adults, $9.99 for kids, free for under six on the Fest’s website, heightsfest.com)
And with more than 20 vendors, 15 acts, eight bands and a stop by the Governor Livingston’s alumni Bag Pipe and Drum Corp, Skidmore is expecting the festival to fit in well with the town’s reputation of extravagant events.
Berkeley Heights is home to the country’s top fireworks celebration for the Feast of Mount Carmel, and the same company will be providing a show for the Heights Fest as well, he said.
And underneath the pomp and circumstance is a good cause, as proceeds from the event will be donated to the MC Society to Little Flower, Relay for Live and other organizations.
“There are some people from here, who have lived here – everyone has a tie,” he said. “We are a tight-knit community, we support each other, and we’ve very excited about this.”
Heights Feast will be held August 4, from 4 p.m. to midnight at Mount Carmel Field. Tickets are now on sale at Heightsfest.com. Those interested in participating as vendors for the event, can contact organizers through the website.