ORANGE, NJ — The city of Orange Township hosted “150 Years of Orange” on Thursday, Aug. 18., in celebration of the city’s sesquicentennial. Initially known as “Newark Mountains,” Orange was originally incorporated in 1806. In 1872, Orange was reincorporated as a city, and in 1985 it became the city of Orange Township.
The community health and wellness event featured free vaccinations and health screenings for community children and their families in an initiative to combat communicable diseases as school starts again on Sept 7., explained organizers from the mayor’s office.
More than 100 individuals were vaccinated, and more than 40 families took the opportunity to speak to and be evaluated by community health representatives from the city while at the event. Representatives of the police and fire departments were there, showing residents their vehicles; children were avidly interacting with both departments while asking questions about their equipment and careers.
The streets were decorated with blue and orange balloons, and a DJ was set up on the lawn of the library. The city provided a bounce house and Hula Hoop competition, as well as snacks, much to the delight of local children. T-shirts that read “Orange Pride 150 Years” were also given out to community members who participated in the festivities.
“The event went extremely well. Anytime a community can celebrate a 150-year library that is an architectural gem, it’s loaded with historical facts. The Watson family from IBM has a room there where they donated. It started from humble beginnings and now it’s this great edifice in the city Orange Township. So, we’re very happy about being able to have this event here honoring the city and the library,” Orange Mayor Dwayne D. Warren told the Record-Transcript. “And then the theme — to have public and social services come together and health services come together is a good theme when we’re trying to end COVID. We have this monkeypox scare so we really made our event relevant to the times.”
Warren said that pairing health and safety with this anniversary celebration is just another way Orange is working to keep everyone healthy, maintaining the city’s focus on well-being.
“Vaccinations were high and infections were low throughout this challenging time,” Warren said of Orange’s statistics. “I know that our biggest feat (is that) we were able to keep our numbers low even though we have seven senior buildings, and we have three facilities in addition that take care of our elderly. So the fact that we could do that with such a large population of vulnerable people (shows we are) pretty efficient and (is) a testament to our departments working tirelessly together. Our schools also did well throughout this time and so we just want to continue the theme of making sure everyone is healthy and vaccinated.”
Orange Board of Education member Fatimah Turner had a blast at the event and highlighted its importance to the community.
“It’s really important for the departments to meet and interact with the community they serve in an arena where the goal is entertainment and connection,” Turner said. “It truly creates trust and partnership when the children and families can see the departments coming out to spend time with them, help them and get to know them on a one-on-one basis.”
Photos by Destiny D. Rose