Annual Autumn Lights Festival highlights community


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  • Thousands of people came out Oct. 13 for the annual West Milford Autumn Lights Festival.




  • Attendees check out the more than 180 vendors at the annual West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • After a cool and wet start, the sun and crowds came out for the annual West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • Passaic County Sheriff Cpl. Tony Testino introduces K-9 Officer Luna to festival attendees.




  • 22-month-old Great Dane "Blackjack" makes some new friends during the West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • Attendees buy a poppy to support veterans at the annual West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • West Milford resident Ted Rappold, 40, uses hisw "one-wheel" to get around the annual Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • Essex County Sheriff's deputies bag some kettle corn for a customer at the annual West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • West Milford's Fran Lanza waves a flag while listening to a band during the annual Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • Independent Mayoral Candidate, and Acting Mayor, Tim Wagner talks to voters during the West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • Matthew Mannunni, 14, of Ringwood, takes a ride on a mechanical bull during the West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • Highland Lakes resident Jim Zangara, 63, picks up a new hat during his first visit to West Milford's Autumn Lights Festival on Oct. 13.




  • One of the several performing dance teams poses for a photo during the West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • Democratic Mayoral Candidate Chris Garcia speaks to voters during the annual West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • Attendees of the West Milford Autumn Lights Festival enjoyed a variety of activities during the day Oct. 13.




  • A vendor serves up tasty fare during the West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • One of the several performing dance teams poses for a photo during the West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • West Milford High School baseball players test the speed of their fastballs during the Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • The Rock Underground School band performs during the West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • The Rock Underground School band performs during the West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • The Rock Underground School band performs during the West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • The "Kootz Band" performs during the annual West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • Mickey Mouse makes an appearance at the West Milford Autumn Lights Festival Oct. 13.




  • Attendees of the West Milford Autumn Lights Festival enjoyed a variety of activities during the day Oct. 13.




  • Face painting was just one of many activities those attending the West Milford Autumn Lights Festival on Oct. 13 could enjoy.




By Charles Kim

WEST MILFORD – Despite a wet and chilly start to the day Saturday, thousands of people gathered for the 24th Annual Autumn Lights Festival.

More than 125 vendors and organizations set up booths along the temporary route along Ridge Road from the firehouse to Union Valley Road.

The new location was set due to the work on the Marshall Road bridge.

“At the end of the day, the community looks forward to this event, whether it’s on one street or the other,” Acting Mayor Tim Wagner said in front of his booth. “Everyone is coming out and the street is crowded. That says it all.”

Although the morning started on a dreary note, with light rain and chilly temperatures, the sun eventually came out among the clouds, bringing more and more people to the event as the day wore on.

Mayor Wagner said the festival brings out many businesses and organizations, giving folks from around the region a look at how unified the community is and also gives residents the opportunity to come together and celebrate the township each year.

“It’s just a great community day,” he said.

Upper Greenwood Lake resident Cheryl Garrick said that the new location seemed to not have as many vendors as previous years, but was still a good time.

“It’s information for the people and so many different vendors you can shop at,” she said. “It brings everyone together. I’ve seen so many people today that I haven’t seen in a while.”

Attendees could choose from a variety of different products, food and activities to complete the day.

Food choices ranged from hot dogs to barbeque, to funnel cakes and fried pickles.

Rides were running for the younger participants and a mechanical bull was available for those willing to risk being thrown.

A number of bands and dance teams also performed at two different locations throughout the day.

Highland Lakes resident Jim Zangarra, 63, said this was his first time at the festival.

“I’m enjoying myself. It’s a beautiful day,” Zangarra said, sporting his new blue sea creature hat purchased from one of the booths. “There’s a lot of nice vendors and it’s a beautiful day. I liked the guy selling hats, he was the best.”

The annual event is run by a committee of volunteers each year and benefits local veterans.



























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