Friday, September 11, 2009

Fiesta Proposed for Sept. 19 Weekend

Former bank, now a nightclub.

A proposed two-day fiesta celebrating the independence of Central America will be a first for Plainfield, organizer Edison Garcia told the City Council Tuesday.

Garcia said other cities, including Elizabeth, Jersey City and Paterson mark the Sept. 15 date with celebrations, so why not Plainfield? He is asking permission to use city parking lots 8 and 8-A, between Somerset Street and Watchung Avenue, for the event. It will span the weekend on Saturday, Sept. 19 and Sunday, Sept. 20 from noon to 7 p.m. each day.

The origins of the holiday date back to 1821, although its history has been a bit rocky, according to a Revue Magazine article online. Depending on what source one consults, the holiday is marked in countries including or not including Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Here is a Wikipedia post on the holiday.

Garcia owns a nightclub at 111 East Front Street and said all businesses on the block will participate. Some restaurants will bring food outside and there will be beer stations on a one-day alcoholic beverage permit.

Parking Lot 8
Councilman William Reid asked Garcia to consider making census information available as part of the event, noting that if Plainfield’s population in the 2010 census tops 50,000, the city will be able to receive federal Community Development Block Grants directly. At present, with the official population tally hovering under 48,000, the city must send CDBG requests to Union County for approval.

It is widely believed that there are more than 50,000 residents in the city, but for various reasons, Latinos have shunned being counted.

Garcia said event organizers will provide for security, including the presence of police, fire and rescue squad personnel.

After Garcia indicated the event will also include sidewalk encroachments on East Front Street, Councilman Cory Storch noted that was not stated on the resolution.

Storch also suggested use of the plaza in front of the Park-Madison office building, saying the event would be “hidden” in the parking lots behind stores. But Garcia said it would be hard for restaurants to move their kitchens from their locations on the block to the plaza across Park Avenue.

The resolution granting permission for the event is up for approval Monday. The council meeting is 8 p.m. in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.

--Bernice Paglia


Blogger Rob said...

Nice to see such activity from the businesses. The only thing I can say I am not in favor of: BEER. I am a drinker..unapologetically, I LOVE DRINKING BEER. I however am that type of person that can get RIPPING DRUNK and make my way home without causing problems for other people or being an annoying loud idiot. Many in Plainfield..not capable of that. I do believe the beer permit is a bad idea as much as I love to have a nice beer on a warm day while enjoying an outdoor festival. Will be interesting to see the outcome as I think I will attend.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not in favor of alcohol either. You already see a lot of Central Americans walking in zig-zag on the weekends! and dont call me racist, Im Hispanic too!! (just not from Centaral America, lol) I like the idea though, just dont give them all the alcohol!!!!!!!!!!

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alchohol is ok for you, but not for Central Americans? Interesting.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Debra de la Mer said...

It would seem to me that if we have an official count of our Central American population it would then make sense to have such festivals. If the Central American community does not want to be documented then why should we officially support such "festivities." This is not Central America. ALso, public drinking is not necessary to have a festival, if it is held and creates very bad examples for youth who might be attending such events.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that having beer is perfectly fine. What is not fine is the abuse of it.

When will each of us start accepting responsibility for our actions? I think this is a great opportunity for people to be role models for the youth.

Anyone think that perhaps we should not allow cigarette machines or permit smoking at the festival? I do - more so than not allowing beer.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you know that Central Americans do not want to be documented? Have you ever met a Central American that said that they WANT to be undocumented? And why do you asume that all the Central Americans attending the festival will be undocumented?

5:57 PM  

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