The 32nd annual Pennington Day will take place on Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning at the intersection of East Curlis Avenue and Main Street and stretching north to Academy Drive and West to Abey Drive, in Pennington.
Last year, the event attracted more than 8,000 people who enjoyed entertainment on all scales.
This year, organizers are hoping to draw 8,000 to 10,000 people, and the fair will host professional and live entertainment, with around 150 booths featuring family fun activities.
Unlikein previous years, this year’s festival will have a new identity and feature some new events, vendors and sources of entertainment for the community, according to the event’s co-chairwoman Lisa Sarachman.
“Pennington Day co-chair and graphic designer Andy Parsons designed a new logo for the event, new banners and new crossroads stage signage for the main stage,” she said. “A new Facebook page was also created – www.facebook.com/penningtonday – to provide news about the big event. This year is bound to be our biggest and best year yet.”
Parsons’ new logo, which is a green “P” with a leaf piercing through it, was created to symbolize this year’s eco-friendly theme and introduction. Although it’s his first year as co-chair for the day, Parsons has created the event’s T-shirts in past years.
He explained how he was able to use his professional experience to help with this year’s event.
“I feel like doing these types of things helps me and my family connect to the community more,” Parsons said. “It really has been great getting to work with all of these fine people. I feel like I am walking away with more friends than I started with.”
The other two new main events will include an acoustic music stage that will be stationed in Howe Commons near Academy Avenue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as a “green alley” at Howe Commons, where environmentally friendly vendors will be grouped together to share information about sustainable living, which was inspired by the Hopewell Valley Green Team.
This year, a food court will be set up in front of Toll Gate Grammar School, where 20 food vendors will provide attendees with an array of different foods to choose from.
“Food options will be especially diverse this year,” Sarachman said. “They will be running the gamut from Chinese and Mexican choices, to more gourmet crab cakes and French tarts, to traditional festival fare of hot dogs, sausage sandwiches, cotton candy, funnel cake, and of course, ice cream.”
More food will be provided by the Kids Pavilion at the rear of Toll Gate Grammar School and near the Children’s and Family Entertainment tent at the intersection of Laning Avenue and South Main Street.
Throughout the entire day, the festival will feature live music from Hopewell-based bands, performances from local dance organizations and a variety of children’s activities.
Along with all of the food and entertainment offered, the festival will also incorporate two athletic events that benefit two charities.
The “Battle Against Hunger Children’s Bike Ride” will assist in aiding the hungry at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and at the Rescue Mission of Trenton and the 36th Annual Pennington 5K (“The Race to Remember”) will benefit the area’s youth through the YMCA and Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance Programs.
Co-president of Pennington Day and four-year volunteer Gretchen Overhiser explained another dutiful purpose Pennington Day serves.
“Each year, Pennington Day, Inc. gives out between $5,000 to $10,000 in grants to organizations that serve the residents of the greater Hopewell Valley,” she said.
In the past few years, the board has provided the initial start-up money for Pennington’s Farmers Market, given grants to Eagle Scouts and contributed funds to create a community teen center in the YMCA on Main Street.
“We look for groups whose projects will really make an impact on the lives of residents in our area,” Overhiser said.
Sarachman and Parsons, along with a crew of hard-working and dedicated volunteers and organizations, have made it their priorities to execute one of the most polished and professional fairs yet.
“Having just moved to Pennington in 2011, I am constantly impressed by and honored to work with such an ambitious and well-organized group of volunteers,” Sarachman said. “We have a whole lot planned for Pennington Day 2012. Our entertainment and family activities are top-notch and the vendors are coming from near and far to participate in our most cherished community day.”