The city of Northfield, with the support of the Friends of Birch Grove Park and the Northfield Mothers' League, will celebrate its annual Family Fun Fest this Saturday, Sept. 29.

The annual event is both an end-of-summer salute and a fall festival in one, said Northfield resident Eileen Pantalena, who is president of the Birch Grove Recreation and Park Board and a member of the park's friends group.

Throughout the '90s the Friends of the Birch Grove Park held an annual Pumpkin Fest in the park, Pantalena said. Although the event is no longer held, the city has begun resurrecting its old festivities and incorporating them into the Family Fun Fest. Saturday's festival will include hayrides and several vendors selling handmade fall wreaths and holiday decorations, she said.

Also at the fun fest will be a dunk tank - and a chance to dunk Mayor Vincent Mazzeo - a blueberry-pie eating contest, with all pies donated by B.F. Mazzeo Produce and Gift Baskets, a youth fishing tournament sponsored by the Atlantic County Municipal Alliance's "Hooked On Fishing Not Drugs" initiative and much more.

Chairman of the event committee Bill Coulter said the fishing tournament - held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. - is a main highlight of the festival and typically includes a lot of prizes such as bikes and fishing gear. The tournament is open for youths 15 and younger. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

There also will be display of military vehicles, American Legion Riders Chapter 352, and fire and police vehicles. Colors will be posted by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 228 and Korean War Veterans of Atlantic County Chapter 234 and entertainment will be provided by Lite Rock 96.9 and Penny the Clown.

Pantalena, who is in charge of the event vendors, said another crowd favorite each year is the great array of food. Food vendors will be selling cotton candy and funnel cake, pizza, pulled pork and sausage sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers and more.

"Some people come just for the food," she said.

Coulter said each year the fun fest gets bigger and better.

"We get new vendors, new entertainment, cooler prizes for the fishing tournament," he said.

Contact Elisa Lala:


If you go

What: Northfield's annual Family Fun Fest

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29

Where: Birch Grove Park, 1700 Burton Ave., Northfield

Call event chairman Bill Coulter at 609-513-3911.

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