Thousands attend Caribbean American Family Day in East Orange, NJ

Family Fun Day, at Monte Irving Park, East Orange, NJ.
Children had an exciting time participating in a sack race at the Annual Caribbean American Family Fun Day, at Monte Irving Park, East Orange, NJ.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Thousands of colorfully dressed nationals converged on Monte Irving Orange Park in East Orange, New Jersey on Sunday, July 10 for a loud, and exciting return to the Caribbean American Family Day, (CAFFNJ) where Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake, of the 34th Legislative District, New Jersey General Assembly, told the massive crowd that it was good to be back after COVID-19.

The politician who was joined on stage by Councilmember At Large, Adrienne Wooten of East Orange Township, and Ira Lewis, legislative aide to Assemblywoman Timberlake, president/founder, Guyanese American Heritage Foundation, extended a warm welcome, extending condolences to families of those lost to the Covid, and shared, that it was a pleasure being at the event put on by the organizing committee.

“This event that Lady Ira had in her heart to birth so many years ago, is incredibly important because what it does, it brings all black people in the diaspora and all around together. And if we don’t stand together then we will be divided, and we would not be able to amass the political power that we need to leverage the resources for our communities. I hope everybody here is registered to vote.”

Caribbean American Family Fun Day
Celebrants at the return of the Caribbean American Family Fun Day, at Monte Irving Park from left, Councilmember At Large, Adrienne Wooten, Orange City Council, Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake, 34th Legislative District, New Jersey General Assembly, and Ira Lewis, legislative aide to Assemblywoman Timberlake, and president/founder, Guyanese American Heritage Foundation. Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Timberlake explained the importance why immigrants need to vote and help to participate in civics. “This will help us black and brown people to continue to rise in power for us and our children. There is no one culture that is greater than the other. We are one, we are all one people, we are all together. Always move as a unit of one” said Timberlake, who have written and passed many laws, like those that kept constituents in their home during the pandemic, and others.

Councilwoman Wooten applauded the community officials for bringing the event, to Orange township, of over 30,000 residents, while thanking Assemblywoman Timberlake for her tireless work in the state.

The sweltering heat did not deter the nationals, who occupied scores of tents that littered the grounds of the park, as appetizing smells of curried dishes, BBQ, and treats, filled the air, and bellies of patrons who danced to Soca, Calypso, and other genres of music, provided by top deejay Buster – One-man-band, Stitchie, Pablo G, Busy Freelandz, Gucci Boy, DJs and Sound System Party Zone, among others.

The Fanoko Singers
The Fanoko Singers, with leader Carl Fraser center, performing a Kwe Kwe medley on stage at the return of the Annual Caribbean American Family Fun day, at Monte Irving Park, East Orange, NJ. Photo by Tangerine Clarke

The Fanoko Singers, made up of popular Guyanese Kwe Kwe performers, got nationals on their feet, and in a circle for a dance-off to showcase the customs performed at a pre-wedding ceremony.

For more than 10 hours, the celebratory return of the family day that opened with Church of the Oranges Caribbean Praise Break, delighted children and adults alike, enjoyed field races, sack races, Tug-of-war, a Spelling Bee competition, and presentation of medals and trophies, prizes, and giveaways.

Ira Lewis of LI Productions thanked the organizing committee, the office of Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake, the Orange City Council, artistes, Talk A De Town Radio and Caribbean Power Jam Radio and most importantly, supporters, noting that it was a blessing that the event returned to celebrate the rich diversity in the City of Orange, New Jersey.

Burgette Williams-Forde, president of the Guyana Ex-Athletes and Friends Inc., and one of the hosts of the annual one-mile, 5k, and 10k races in Guyana, donated medals for the races.

One lucky person won a 65” television from the raffle drawing, while others took home visa gift cards donated by the Church of the Oranges. The resounding success of the family day was also in part to the compelling voices of emcees, Washie, Elijah and Red Rum.

In a special message, the committee said, “today, as we celebrate our children, families, and friendships, let us recognize the true sense of or our culture and revel in it. We believe that without principals and beliefs we could be a lost nation. We also believe that we all have a responsibility to preserve our principles, values, and culture regardless of where we choose to live in this world.

The committed has also planned an October 22, 2022 CAFFNJ Black-Tie Gala – a Red and Black Affair at the Robert Treat Banquet Hall, Newark, NJ.

The planning committee members are, Lady Ira Lewis, Jameal Barton, Elijah Gordon, Sadie Richards-Ganesh, Donna Marshall, Brenda Telford, Alyssa King, Yvette Eswick, Patrick Reid, Jay Mingo, Janet Mitchell, Clinton Hollingsworth, Beverley Perryman, Roddy-NJ, Party Zone, Leon Brummell, Ashley Hopkinson, Christopher Barton, Natasha Wong, Virginia Pierre, Andrea Tucker-Miller, Roger Miller, B.R.A.T.S. Motorcycle Club and Frank Brown.

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