Newark Celebrates 350 Seeks to Invigorate City Spirit

October 14, 2015 | Arts & Entertainment, Politics

By Briana Vannozzi

With more than a hundred citywide events planned, the start of Newark’s 350-year celebration is ready to launch.

“Newark is the third oldest city in America and it represents all of its triumphs and its travails all at the same time,” said Mayor Ras Baraka.

This Saturday in Military Park there’s a free family festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. that will give residents a taste of what’s to come.

“With everyone from DJ Tony Touch, to the New Jersey Symphony, to the Dodge Poetry Festival, to Felix Hernandez, to Kenny Ladamore the R&B singer,” said NJ PAC President and CEO John Schreiber.

Events will be spread throughout the coming year, including:

  • Free membership for Newark residents at the Newark Museum
  • Tickets for select shows at NJPAC for $3.50
  • Public panels and discussions
  • Concerts

“The NJ Devils have committed to offer 35,000 free tickets to Devils’ games to Newark residents over the course of 2016,” Schreiber said.

Organizers heard input from committees in each ward to incorporate all the cultures and history in the city. Newark historian and Newark Celebrates 350 chair, Junius Williams, is spearheading a curriculum change for the city’s schools after repeatedly hearing from students.

“How come people don’t tell us about these things that I’m teaching them about the politics of Newark,” Williams said.

“Unfortunately as time goes on we tend to lose things, and this will be a great opportunity for us to recommit to memory all of the wonderful things that are happening in our city,” said John Johnson, Jr. who is Executive Director of Newark Celebrates 350.

Newark lost major political and cultural pillars in the community this last year. The mayor says the anniversary will reinvigorate the city’s spirit.

“There’s still a lot of people around who can tell us those stories and remind us of where Newark came from,” Baraka said.

After the festivities and free concerts kick off in Military Park this weekend, the group organizers say they’ll take a brief hiatus until the celebration officially begins in January 2016.