The 28th Annual Jefferson Township Day was met with clear blue skies this Saturday, July 12. Dedicated this year to local Purple Heart recipient, Aaron Alonso, the day was filled with kids carnival rides, fishing contests, food vendors, live music, and much more.
Alonso, who lost both of his legs after stepping on an explosive device in February while on tour in Afghanistan, remains in the hospital in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
The day’s fun kicked off though at 10am with the start of the Art’s Karts Race right in front of the Jefferson Township High School. Open for kids ages 5-13, the race saw homemade cars based on everything from dragons to video games to hot rods, and racers with driving abilities just as vast. Following immediately after was the Pit Stop Challenge, a timed tire changer contest on an actual NASCAR stock car, with former NASCAR driver Bruce Sibel.
Just up the road, next to Weigand Farms, a different type of fun was being had as the Irish Road Bowling contest began. For those unfamiliar, teams of four compete by getting a small, heavy ball down the road in as few throws as possible. The road is played as is, with holes, bumps, hills, and of course, no bumpers. While the game is in progress though, it can almost seem like there are no rules at all.
“You just stay out of the way of the ball when they’re throwing it!” one spectator, Sharon Schauble, 65, said.
This year’s contest ended in a four-way tie, and resulted in a tie-breaker among The Roadkill, Morris County Cannonballs, and two teams from Charley’s Tavern, Charley’s Chuckers and The UpChuckers. In the end, The Roadkill was victorious, with Morris County Cannonballs taking second place.
Back behind the high school, the Young Rockers stage became a popular tent for teens to rock out in the afternoon. The stage saw six performances this year, three of which involved local musician, Mike Russo, 21. Over the last six years, Russo has played the Young Rockers stage with a number of different bands, including *64 and East Coast Blackout. This year he was part of a jam band, had his own solo set, and also drummed for The Argyles.
“When I was younger, I saw the older kids at the Young Rockers stage. I looked at them like they were real bands and it made me want to do it and it pushed me into music further,” Russo said. “Now I kind of hope that I’m inspiring kids to do the same thing. Letting the cycle roll.”
After the young rockers were finished with their shows, Tequila Rose, the local new and classic country rock band, took the main stage for a concert under the stars before the traditional aerial fireworks display brought Jefferson Day to a close.