BELLEVILLE, NJ — Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss and his wife, April, kicked off the fifth annual Mayor’s Ball at Nanina’s In the Park in Belleville on Thursday, Oct. 3. The star-studded event, hosted by multiplatinum selling rhythm and blues entertainer Ginuwine, saw guests dressed to the nines for the black-tie affair.
“My ball brings together people from all walks of life,” the mayor told the Irvington Herald on Wednesday, Oct. 2. “Everyone, from dignitaries and elected officials, township residents and employees to our public safety officers and firefighters and senior citizens, all attend. It’s truly an opportunity for everyone to come together to celebrate another year of success and accomplishments.”
“I am enjoying my night very much,” said April Vauss at the event. She also serves as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Irvington School District. “I always love celebrating with the township of Irvington.”
Performing hit singles such as “Pony,” “In Those Jeans” and “So Anxious,” Ginuwine packed the sold-out event.
“I’m just glad I’m here and able to support,” the singer told the Irvington Herald just before the event began. “I’m glad they’ve invited me and having me here to perform a little something and I’m just thankful. It’s a great event and everyone’s looking beautiful and I’m just happy to be here.”
The performer, who resided in Teaneck from 1990 to 1995, considers New Jersey his second home. He said he was optimistic about the event.
“I expect everyone just getting to know each other,” Ginuwine said. “Everyone building with one another and just having fun. I’m here to perform, so I’m looking forward to everyone just enjoying themselves.”
Since it was not his first Mayor’s Ball, the entertainer was anxious to get onstage and see everyone having a good time.
“I did another Mayor’s Ball in Washington, D.C.,” Ginuwine said. “That’s where I’m from, but I’m glad I’m able to come here and meet everyone and have some fun tonight and that’s what it’s all about.”
From the outside looking in, everyone seemed to be in one room. The Mayor’s Ball welcomed all mayors to the event to support Vauss. East Orange Mayor Ted Green spoke highly of his friend at the event.
“Mayor Tony Vauss is my good friend,” Green said to the Irvington Herald at the event. “I’ve been to every ball that he had. Tonight is even more special, because he’s got one of the greatest singers here, Ginuwine, but more so, I’m here to celebrate with him and the first lady, who has done an outstanding job. … I’m here to celebrate with the mayor and the City Council also.”
“It’s a great night tonight,” Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren told the Irvington Herald at the event. “Tony Vauss has done it in grand fashion once again. What a great leader, what a great person to bring people together.”
Jacqueline Jones, the wife of Democratic Party Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, also had positive things to say about the Vauss.
“I’m enjoying the event so much,” Jones said to the Irvington Herald that night. “Mayor Vauss and Dr. April Vauss put together a wonderful event every year. I look forward to it. He has good leadership in the town of Irvington. Everyone’s out here, showing their support for him, and it speaks volumes of what he does for the city and across the state.”
Akbar Beasley, son of the late D. Bilal Beasley, of the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Irvington City Council, remembered his father while enjoying the Mayor’s Ball.
“Tonight’s event was great,” he told the Irvington Herald during the event. “This is the way Bilal would like the event. Like the mayor and I came up with the slogan, ‘One team, one dream’ and we’re just keeping the legacies alive of D. Bilal Beasley, Lebby Jones, David Lyons and Councilwoman Sandy Jones. We’re just keeping their legacies alive.”
Steven Reid, who works in Irvington’s media department, was one of those recognized with a Leadership Award that night.
“Winning an award actually took me by surprise,” Reid said to the Irvington Herald at the event. “I like to just do what I have to do and make things happen for the mayor. He kind of surprised me with this one.
“I look for more things to come next year and the years to come for Tony, and we have a lot of big things coming up so stay tuned.”
Irvington Parks and Recreation Supervisor Samad Beasley was also caught off guard when he won a Leadership Award.
“It felt good. It’s been a long time. I’ve been working for the city for 13 and a half years,” Samad Beasley told the Irvington Herald at the event. “It felt good to be recognized and I want to thank Mayor Vauss and my director, Jamel Harvey … for making it happen for me.”
Detective Sgt. Marquis Smith, who works in the Mayor’s Office, was also happy he came out to support the mayor on his big night.
“One of the things that I do is I go out and I go door to door, I talk to all of our citizens, I address their concerns firsthand. Anything they’re not happy about, I make sure that I bring it back to Mayor Vauss, we develop a strategy and we make sure it gets addressed.” Smith said at the event.
When asked if he was enjoying his night, Smith said, “It’s a phenomenal night. I look forward to it every single year. It’s a great time to really enjoy ourselves. We just sit down and we talk and we bridge that gap. It’s progress. It’s all about progress.”
Detective Lt. Danny Cruz, an arson investigator for the Irvington Fire Department, also came out in support of the mayor.
“I’m having an amazing time here at Mayor Tony Vauss’ Mayor’s Ball,” Cruz said at the event. “Once again, another great, great, great, successful night. Thank you for everyone coming out. Tony Vauss did his thing with Ginuwine. I don’t think enough people know, but Ginuwine is like an older brother to me. We look alike. We have our pictures out there. I’m having a good time, enjoying myself. Once again, Mayor Tony Vauss shut it down over here, from Irvington to Belleville here in Nanina’s In The Park. Doing it big and representing for Essex County.”
Irvington Superintendent of Schools Neely Hackett also had a great time at the ball.
“I’m having a wonderful time. It’s always nice to come out and support the mayor, because he’s so supportive of the school district and he’s doing an excellent job in the township of Irvington.” said Hackett at the event.
“The event is great. It’s amazing. It’s a good crowd,” Irvington Business Administrator Musa Malik said at the event. “All of the representatives from Essex County are out here. All the employees from the township and the administration are here. We’re celebrating the good work from the last year and we’re looking forward to moving into next year.”
Elected officials that were in attendance, such as acting President Renee C. Burgess, came in support of the mayor and to have a great time.
“Tonight, is a beautiful night,” Burgess said to the Irvington Herald. “Beautiful people, positive energy, I’m loving it.”