JEFFERSON - The weather Saturday morning wasn’t all that great but a little rain and a little fog were no match for the lineup of events that took place during 27th Annual Jefferson Day.
The day-long celebration, hosted by the Jefferson Arts Committee, kicked off with the Blue Star Salute, a tribute to Jefferson Township residents who have served or are now serving in the Armed Forces since Desert Storm. Presented by American Legion Post 423, 161 residents were recognized for their service, including two local marines killed in action, John T. Wroblewski and Alexander Prezioso, II.
A new event, the Arts’ Kart Race, drew close to 100 participants and well over 500 spectators, despite a steady rain early on. Racers as young as six years old took to the dual-lane racetrack located in the parking lot in front of the high school, each getting two chances to race down the track. Awards were given to the top three racers in each age group and to the most creative kart.
The children’s fishing contest was held across the street from the high school at the Weldon Road Fishing Education Pond, co-sponsored by F.S. Burroughs and North Jersey Trout Unlimited, participants caught anything from small sunnies to 15-inch catfish.
The ninth annual Irish Road Bowling Contest was held just down the road from the high school on Catholic Charity Road at Weigand Farms, a challenging venue with the uphill, downhill and winding nature of the road. Teams of four competed in two heats, up the road to the first finish line then back down again to where they started. The competition was fast and fierce.
By mid-afternoon the sun was peeking through the clouds, the humidity increased and traffic on the midway picked up, especially around the ice cream vendors. A large crowd gathered to watch the annual hot dog eating contest. This year there were two. The first was for anyone 18-years-old or younger. Mark Salviano was the winner, a 15-year-old from Wayne, who proved he was no match for the five local boys sitting next to him at the table.
In the adult competition, Rob Lobban and Nick Juba were declared co-winners (the organizers ran out of hot dogs) after each devoured 12 hot dogs in less than 10 minutes.
The day concluded with an evening concert by the band, Carnaby St. and the annual fireworks display.
Christopher Morgan, front, keeps a watchful eye on his competition, Ashley Potter, as they make their way down the track in the first Arts' Karts Race.