Students ready for annual Ping Pong in the Park competition  

ping pongNEWARK, NJ – Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences is the newcomer on a roster of six Newark-based colleges and universities set to compete in Ping Pong in the Park, the second annual table tennis tournament, on Thursday, April 14, in Military Park, 51 Park Place, Newark. Hosted by the Cultural Legacy Committee of the Women’s Association of NJPAC and the Military Park Partnership, Ping Pong in the Park is an opportunity for students from different campuses to get acquainted, as well as introduce them to what’s happening in the beautifully restored park and the world-class Arts Center just across the street.

Scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the free event is also called “Celebrating Newark’s Colleges and Universities,” but expects a strong showing from the downtown business community this year. Employees from laws firms, retailers and corporate giants such as Prudential and PSEG are invited to mingle with students in a little friendly competition during lawn games, including capture the flag, three-legged races and inflatable obstacle courses, all starting at noon.

The center of attention is an array of a dozen ping pong tables, which will be flanked by teams from Rutgers University-Newark, Essex County College, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Berkeley College, Pillar College and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Winning the championship – or coming real close – means taking home trophies, ribbons, certificates, assorted swag and intra-campus bragging rights for being best paddlers. All participants are eligible to receive a one-day discount at the nearby Nike store.

DJ Sienna Chanel is back by popular demand to play the hits, but this time the music also provides the soundscape for a mascot dance-off by all the campus characters and a double-Dutch jump off.

Burg, Military Park’s urban-chic eatery and bar, is offering a college promotion, as is the newly opened, nearby Starbucks – half-price handcrafted beverages for students. Food trucks, stationed around the park’s perimeter, are serving up eclectic menu items, from salads to souvlaki.

Whether you’re a player, a participant or a passerby, Ping Pong in the Park is a crowd-pleaser. More than 500 people turned out for the inaugural event last year.

The tournament’s presenting sponsor is the Ed and Sharon Cruz Family Foundation Inc.

Ping Pong in the Park is one of hundreds of events taking place this year as part of Newark Celebration 350, a jubilee in observance of the 350th anniversary of the city’s founding. There is no rain date; if the weather is inclement, activities will be moved inside to NJPAC’s Prudential Hall lobby.