Crowds gathered for annual green festival and celebration
Over 3,500 people gathered at Overpeck County Park on Sunday, defying a dismal weather forecast. Instead of the predicted thunderstorms, sunshine and the occasional cloud covered the sky above the attendees, vendors, presenters, and entertainers that came out for the annual event. EarthFest Overpeck is one of two official Bergen County green events and is presented through a partnership between the county Parks Department and Hackensack Riverkeeper.
The Recycled Regatta, a race between teams fielding homemade recycled-material boats, was the highlight of day. Five teams entered this year’s race: two teams from Englewood Recreation, two from Hackensack Middle School and one from Maker Bar, a creative space in Hoboken, NJ. In addition to first place - claimed by the HMS River Comet, piloted by the Hackensack Riverkeeper’s Junior Stewards - teams received awards in categories such as the “Floating Van Gogh”, “Engineering Marvel”, “Prestigious Boat”, and “Leaky Bucket”.
Blue Plate Special, Jumpin’ Jamie the Dinosaur Troubador, and the Center for Modern Dance had the crowds up on their feet with an eclectic mix of music and dance. Presenter Joe D’Angeli from the Wildlife Conservation Center captured the wonder of onlookers with his wildlife presentation. There were also free yoga lessons from practitioner Sandi Higgins, presentations on water, and lots of environmentally-themed games for kids of all ages.
After the Regatta concluded, the Overpeck Park Kayak Center – operated by Hackensack Riverkeeper – offered free kayaking to the public. As a result, Overpeck Lake was full of people enjoying themselves paddling the Center's brightly colored kayaks.
“This was another great EarthFest that's now in the books,” said Hackensack Riverkeeper Captain Bill Sheehan. “We had a gut feeling that Mother Nature was on our side, and we ended up with a nearly perfect-weather day.”
Hackensack Riverkeeper thanks the County of Bergen, Leonia Fire Department; and Event Sponsors SUEZ Water, Inserra Supermarkets, Hackensack Meridian Health, XChange at Secaucus Junction, Samsung, Investors Bank, Ramsey Outdoor Stores, Haftek C.W.S, and Westy’s Self Storage. It also thanks the many participants, attendees, and volunteers that helped make EarthFest Overpeck 2018 the great event that it was.
Founded by Sheehan in 1997, Hackensack Riverkeeper is the leading environmental organization working on Hackensack River issues – from the headwaters in Rockland County, NY to Newark Bay in New Jersey. A founding member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, the group engages in a four-point clean water strategy of environmental action, advocacy, education and litigation in its ongoing work to protect, preserve and restore the Hackensack River.