IRVINGTON, NJ — According to Mayor Tony Vauss, the township’s 18th annual Unity Day celebration in Orange Avenue Park on Saturday, Aug. 10, was a huge success.
“I think it was the best one we’ve had yet,” Vauss said Aug. 12, adding that anyone who doesn’t believe him can just ask their friends who attended. Social media is filled with congratulatory and effusive posts from featured performers and guests of honor, including old-school hip-hop music star Big Daddy Kane and new school talent Fatboy SSE, an Irvington native. Kane and Fatboy’s Unity Day comments are posted on Vauss’ official Facebook page.
“Big Daddy Kane got up onstage and said: ‘I’ve never seen anything like this. This so peaceful. Everybody’s having fun, having a good time and I see people that look just like me,’” Vauss said. “Fatboy came and he was almost in tears up there. It was a big moment. He even said: ‘In my entire life I’ve never seen the town like this before.’”
Vauss said those testimonials from Kane and Fatboy mean a lot to him personally and to the township in general.
“When I got somebody that all the kids love to be around and they’re doing something positive, then I’m going to put them on ‘Front Street,’” Vauss said. “For all the kids and young adults here that are struggling and they want to do something and they’ve made it then I’m going to support them and put them up there. People have progressions in life and Fatboy’s story is a testimony to that.”
According to Vauss, the best thing about the celebration was that it wasn’t adversely impacted by the fatal police-involved shooting on Aug. 8. Vauss said he was so pleased with the celebration that he can’t wait until next year’s 19th annual Unity Day event. He also said he plans to hold onto the good vibes and positive energy on full display Aug. 10 going for the rest of the year and maybe longer.
“I’m looking forward to next year’s Unity Day,” Vauss said, adding that the Mayor’s Ball is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 3, and will feature Hip-hop and R&B singer Ginuwine.
Ginuwine was popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s with several hit records, including “Pony,” “Differences” and “In Those Jeans.”
“We’re just trying to give the people what they want. Bring some excitement, some togetherness,” Vauss said. “The prices are basically the same as they’ve always been. I’m selling out without Ginuwine. Ginuwine is just an added bonus.”
For information about the upcoming fifth annual Mayor’s Ball, call 973-399-8111.
Photos Courtesy of Alison Bryant, Linda Jones and Tony Vauss