The lemonade flowed and the bouncy house generators hummed during the first annual Somerset County Education Association (SCEA) Family Funfest on Jun 9 at TD Bank Ballpark – home of the Somerset Patriots.

Over 700 community members and their families joined the SCEA executive officers at the event for a day of activities, food, and fun in the sun. Guests enjoyed mini amusement park rides and a complimentary meal while visiting booths set up by the local associations who came out to support the event.

Cotton candy, popcorn, face painting, caricatures, and a can toss were a few of the offerings found at various local association tables.  Volunteers from locals such as Bridgewater-Raritan, Hillsborough, Somerville, North Plainfield, South Bound Brook, Franklin Township, and Branchburg ran the various game tables.  Save Our Schools NJ was also on hand with a display of public education literature and materials complimented by a ring toss.

As the South Bound Brook Fire Department directed a fire truck tour, Sparkee, the Patriot’s mascot, treating the crowd to some entertaining dance moves, and gave handshakes and hugs to the youngsters.

The festival, funded through a grant from NJEA PRIDE, was the inspiration of SCEA President Dan Epstein. “We wanted to do something meaningful and relaxing for the greater community in Somerset County,” said Epstein, “It’s our way of giving back and showing our families how much teachers and school employees value them.”

Epstein has been hoping to hold an event of this sort for several years now. He credits SCEA’s second vice president, Kristina Fallon-Tomaino, with organizing and launching the festival. Fallon-Tomaino said the event took a full year to plan. Once a date was chosen and vendors were booked, it became a question of how many people would be interested in attending.

Epstein set a promotional campaign in motion that included posting fliers, social media posts, a massive email blast, and a radio interview.  The response from the community was more than encouraging.

“We had to close the event invitation when we reached 700 people who signed up,” said Epstein, “We were thrilled to reach that number and are planning an even bigger party for next year.”

If you would like more information on association events in Somerset County, visit the SCEA website at sceanj.org  or their Facebook page at facebook.com/Somerset-County-Education-Association

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