The D&R Greenway Land Trust and Hopewell Borough invite the public to rock and roll for the 125th anniversary of Hopewell Borough.
The Community Day Music Festival at St. Michaels Farm Preserve in Hopewell will be held on Saturday, June 18, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.. The event includes free family activities from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., including children’s music and crafts, the Amazon bounce house, self-guided tours and nature events.
Music performances begin at 4 p.m. Performers include the Hopewell Valley Children’s Chorale, Vox Central Jazz, the Gwynne Alden Band, the Castle Lane Band, Thomas Wesley Stern, the Michael Falzarano Band, Danielia Cotton, and Strange Rovers.
Food will be available for purchase from local vendors, including pizza, ice cream and desserts. Food vendors include Antimos Fresh Pizza, the Brothers Moon Restaurant, Flanders Hot Dogs, the Sweet Grass Restaurant, 2nd Calvary Baptist Church hot pretzels, Rita’s Ice, and Maddalena’s Cheesecake on a stick.
A beer garden for ages 21 and up will take place from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The German-style beer garden will include a selection of craft beers as well as well as wine. Admission to the beer garden is $20. Funds raised from the event will support Hopewell Borough 125th anniversary events and the repainting the Hopewell Train Station.
“St. Michaels Farm Preserve, at the edge of Hopewell Borough, is the perfect place to hold this event, with its 340 acres of beautiful fields, woods and nature trails and its important community history,” said event coordinator Deb Stuhler. “Families can kick back and relax, celebrating the borough’s heritage as well as the recent history of saving this magnificent property, keeping it as an important place where families can enjoy nature and the outdoors—and all while rocking out to some of the most legendary musicians of the region.”
Preserved in 2010 through a community-wide effort, St. Michaels Farm Preserve was once the site of an orphanage operated by the Catholic Diocese of Trenton. Part preserved farmland and part preserved for recreational use, St. Michaels is home to nearly 100 bird species, including 11 species of warbler, the Indigo bunting, rose-breasted grosbeak and scarlet tanager. Hawks cruise the fields looking for voles and mice, kestrels live in the vicinity of the barn, a great blue and a little green heron have been seen along the creek and sparrows and finches frequent the fields.
For more information about the festival and to register for the beer garden, visit www.hopewellblockparty.org.
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Michael Falzarano has been a working musician for more than 45 years, most notably in Hot Tuna, the famed offspring of the Jefferson Airplane, and the Memphis Pilgrims, a Memphis-style rock band he founded. His current project is the Extended Family, which will be joined by Bob Steeler, also of Hot Tuna. Falzarano is a longtime member of the New Riders of the Purple Sage, a spin-off of the Grateful Dead, which features original members David Nelson and Buddy Cage.
Bob Steeler and the Strange Rovers are veterans of seven Hopewell Block Parties. Steeler was the former drummer for Hot Tuna and the Offs, pianist Chris Palmero was sideman for Sting, Jeff Beck and Patty Labelle, Sophia Ramos was vocalist for Joey Ramone and Rod Stewart, guitarist Bennie Landa has played with Mark Knopfler and Carol King, and bassist Tony Tito has played with Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Gavin DeGraw.
Danielia Cotton is a blues-rock artist who doesn’t like comparisons, although she has been compared to Tina Turner, Janis Joplin and the Rolling Stones. Cotton grew up in rural Hopewell, one of only seven black children at the local high school, which inspired the title of her first full-length album, Small White Town. Cotton left her hometown to play the New York City rock club circuit, which led her to Kevin Salem of the band Chocolate Genius. Salem produced Small White Town, as well as Gun in Your Hand, “an album full of hurt and hope,” she says. Cotton has since released The Real Book and Woodstock Session, also with Kevin Salem.
Up and coming singer-song writer Gwynne Alden has performed at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Her songs and guitar playing have earned her a reputation on the Jersey Shore.
Dana Varhley, Walt Varhley, Dale Graham, Mel Johnson and Rob Cortina, a group of local musicians comprising the band Castle Lane, perform blues, rock, funk, soul.
There is an important thing to know about Thomas Wesley Stern: There’s no such person! The fictitious Thomas Wesley Stern was, according to legend, born in the Pine Barrens in 1841, and the music of Thomas Wesley Stern draws its pulse and mystery from the Pine Barren forest groves, developing a peculiarly Jersey version of folk music.