Newarkfest Unity

Posted: Jun 13, 2012 12:01 AM

It was a starlit night and my hometown was celebrating its annual Newarkfest (Newark, NY.) 

From funnel cakes to snow cones, hot dogs to thrill rides, last Saturday night definitely had something for everyone.  As I walked amongst the crowd, I noticed two distinct things. 

First, the overwhelming number of young people congregating together and acting as though they didn’t have a care in the world.  And my second observation was the obvious absence of alcoholic beverages. 

With thousands of people milling around the closed off Main Street and the local rock band blaring out their lyrics, it certainly seemed the prudent decision was to be non-alcoholic.  However, just outside the roped-off funscape was the local watering hole that was doing a bang-up business. 

All drinks had to stay within a confined area, so mixing with the revelry was not allowed.  However, my companions and I having feasted on the local fare, decided it was finally time to make our move. 

I instantly noticed the large screen monitor featuring the Boston Celtics dueling with the Miami Heat, and the bar quickly took sides. 

As the outside music reached a crescendo, the basketball game revved up and the noise became almost unbearable, just the way it should be.  Yes, it was a night to kick back and enjoy what the old watering hole had to offer, a respite from the realities of life. 

For a brief moment, all people, young and old, rich and poor, blended together to talk about music, the basketball game, or anything else that was on their mind.  

In fact, I couldn’t help but imagine this very same scene being replicated in any saloon in Barcelona, Athens, Milan, or Sao Paulo, just as much as it was occurring right here in the good ole USA.  On this evening, there was no unemployment, no foreclosures, no lost youth, or failed opportunities. 

It was simply an evening to laugh, drink, and forget all your worries.  Unfortunately, the fantasy of the evening, like a euro bailout, has a very short shelf life whether it’s here or in Madrid.  When the sun rises the next morning and reality sets in, the dire problems are no less real and might even be worse. 

Yet, for that brief shining moment…what a night, ahhh, what a night.  It’s too bad Newarkfest only comes once a year.