EAST WINDSOR: Rain doesn’t put a damper on Independence Day celebration

By Amy Batista, Special Writer
EAST WINDSOR — Despite some stormy weather, community members united to celebrate Independence Day in style.
East Windsor’s annual Fourth of July event included live bands, family entertainment, a variety of vendors and concluded with a fireworks display at Etra Lake Park on July 2. The East Windsor Township Recreation Department set up the games and inflatables.
“We hold the annual celebration to bring our community together for an enjoyable night of games, food, good music and super special fireworks in the beautiful setting of Etra Lake Park,” Mayor Janice Mironov said.
The free entertainment began at 6 p.m. with Jerry Rife’s Rhythm Kings Dixieland Jazz Band, a six-piece band from the Delaware Valley area, followed at 7:30 p.m. by the Trenton Brass Quintet Plus One, a six-piece ensemble from Central Jersey, which performed a variety of popular melodies. The fireworks started at 9 p.m. due to the rain.
“Based on the best information, rainy weather was not anticipated so we did the best we could and moved on with the program,” Mayor Mironov said.
For Mayor Mironov it’s particularly fun to see children dressed in red, white and blue, and waiving the American flag. She spent part of the evening playing some games with the kids before walking around the park handing out flags and speaking to the residents.
“We come together importantly to honor and celebrate our nation’s birthday, our remarkable historic Independence Day and to remember how blessed we all are to live in this great country and to treasure the freedoms and liberties and opportunities which are afforded to us,” she said.
The mayor said it was hard to estimate how many people turned out for the event this year since people were coming and going due to the rain and large numbers of people stayed in their cars in the park and on area roadways.
Christine Brieva-Giacchi, of East Windsor, was one of the many residents who remained in her car until the rain stopped.
“We went, but stayed in the car until the fireworks started,” said Ms. Brieva-Giacchi. “Then, we put on our raincoats and enjoyed the show.”
She said her family has been going for years and brings a picnic dinner each time.
“I thought the firework show was very good and we still had fun even though we skipped the food this time,” she said.
Kate Murphy, of East Windsor, said the fireworks were “fantastic.”
“We stayed and got wet but it was warm,” she said. “Since so many people left early traffic was a breeze for the first time.”
Jennifer Kecskes, of East Windsor, said her family showed up just in time for the fireworks.
“They went off a little earlier due to the rain but it was just a light rain,” she said. “Although the smoke was low, I think they were great.”
Jim Colleton, of Roosevelt, said that he is always impressed with the organization of the event.
“The police department, fire department, and municipal workers do a great job of making it happen,” he said. “The kids enjoy the free activities and I enjoyed a funnel cake.”
The fireworks are topnotch, he added.
“We waited in our car and jumped out when the fireworks started,” he said. “They loved it.”
However, not all residents agreed that it was the best choice to go on with firework display in the rain.
“My mother was very disappointed,” said Gina Zilocchi, of East Windsor. “She said because of the weather, the fireworks were duds and didn’t go up nicely because of the damp atmosphere. They should have done them on the projected rain date, which I believe was Friday and a much nicer day.” 