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Throwback Thursday: A Retrospective Look at Harrison Fest 2017

Jun 29, 2023
Harrison Fest Parade Crowd Down Harrison Avenue Harrison NJ

 Greetings, everyone! It’s Throwback Thursday (TBT) on the Your Harrison website, and today, we're rolling back the years to celebrate the joyous occasion of Harrison Fest 2017. This exuberant celebration of multiculturalism, community spirit, and camaraderie brought our town alive and continues to hold a special place in our hearts. It also put the Town of Harrison “on the map” as a place to bring your family and enjoy a Parade, Street Fair, Live music, and much more.

Harrison Fest 2017 officially kicked off on Friday, September 15, 2017, with the United Nations Queen Gala. A week later, on September 22, 2017, we observed the Opening Day Mass, setting the tone for the grand celebrations that lay ahead.

The Grand Parade

Harrison Fest Queens Float

The pinnacle of the event, the Grand Parade, happened on Saturday, September 24, 2017. Starting from Joseph Supor Blvd. and going all the way down Harrison Avenue passed the Town Hall of Harrison toward 1st Street, this magnificent parade was graced by several high-profile figures. United States Senator Robert Menendez was in attendance for the second consecutive year, in addition to his presence in previous years. Grand Marshall Hudson County Sheriff Frank X. Schillari, former Assemblywoman Joan Quigley (Harrison Fest 2017 National Godmother), Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos, along with other elected officials and community leaders were part of the esteemed reviewing stand. The parade was a fitting tribute to the Harrison Fest 2017 Honorees.

Street Fair

The event culminated with two days of a vibrant Street Fair. Live music performances from several multicultural music and dance groups, a variety of food stalls representing our diverse ethnic roots, fun kid rides, games, and the spectacular closing act by Maxx Vega as Michael Jackson created an ambiance that both children and adults adored.

Harrison Fest 2017 was more than a celebration. It was a testament to our unity in diversity. If you were there, embracing the spirit of community and camaraderie, appreciating our multicultural heritage, Harrison Fest encourage you to show your gratitude to its sponsors who made it possible. The Sponsors were placed on a very large banner displayed on South Frank E. Rodgers, Harrison Fest's website, Parade Floats and Commemorative Book which including information on Harrison Fest Queens.

Former Councilman Anselmo Millan’s Grand Vision Became A Reality

Harrison School Cheerleaders

Harrison Fest, a non-profit organization, was founded by former Councilman Anselmo Millan. Harrison Fest was founded in 1995.  It was a  humble beginning as a small gathering of Harrisonians but under then Councilman Anselmo Millan’s leadership Harrison Fest grew into an event that attracted not only Harrison residents but people from throughout New Jersey. Harrison Fest provided something for everyone.  If you like a Parade, a Street Fest, Live Music, Cultural Dancing Groups, and various Ethnic Foods, Harrison Fest was something you looked forward to each September.   Harrison Fest welcomed everyone to Harrison.

Harrison Fest celebrated the rich multicultural backgrounds that made Harrison the great Town that it is.  One weekend a year you could learn about other cultures and also show others your heritage.  The rich heritage that has existed in Harrison through the generations who have made Harrison their own, was on display in one weekend and remembered for years.

Harrison Fest’s website states, “We hope that you enjoy this celebration and that you take part in adding your culture to the celebration.  Once you experience Harrison Fest and the many cultures of Harrison's residence you will realize how all the cultures put together make Harrison such a great town to live in.”

Chinese-American Club of Harrison NJ

Then-Councilman Millan Praises Harrison DPW, Police, Sheriffs & Crossing Guards

In 2017, then-Councilman Anselmo Millan expressed his gratitude to the Harrison Department of Public Works, under the guidance of Superintendent Robert Van Riper and his workers for their relentless efforts during the Street Fair that ensured that the community was clean, safe, and well-organized. Then-Councilman Millan also had a special mention of the Harrison Police Department, Hudson County Sheriffs, and the Harrison Crossing Guards for managing the traffic and ensuring the safety of the attendees.

Then-Councilman Millan also thanked the Harrison Fire Department.  The Harrison Fire Department was omnipresent, placing fire engine equipment strategically and volunteering in various Harrison Fest activities throughout the year. Their commitment to the community, shown through their involvement in the United Nations Queen Gala, Harrison Fest Parade & Street Festival, Thanksgiving Turkey Drive, and the December Holiday Party for Children and Parents with Santa Claus, deserves our applause.

Thank You Sponsors of Harrison Fest


Then-Councilman Millan also gave a heartfelt thank you to our generous Harrison Fest 2017 sponsors. These include J.Supor & Sons, Goya Foods, Jaime Lucero, Chinatown Restaurant, G&S Logistics, Gree Air/Heat/Solar, Berto Construction, Hockmeyer Equipment, Harrison Chinese Association, Lusitania Bank, Pharmacy Plus, Investors Bank, St. Michael’s Medical Center, New York Red Bulls, Hudson County Chamber of Commerce, Silva Construction, Spanish Pavillion Restaurant, Kearny Bank, and Alaris Health

Why There Is No Longer a Harrison Fest?

In early 2018, then-Councilman Anselmo Millan announced his candidacy for Mayor but before doing so he sought the support of the Harrison Democratic Party of Harrison and let interim Mayor James Fife know of his intention to be elected Mayor of Harrison.  Mayor Fife admitted in a deposition in a Federal Civil Rights Complaint against Mayor James Fife and the Town of Harrison that he retaliated by locking out then Councilman Anselmo Millan from his office in the Harrison Senior Citizen Center.  Among other retaliatory actions, Mayor Fife would not allow Harrison Fest 2018 to go forward in 2018, and the non-profit Harrison Fest has not been able to hold a Harrison Fest Parade and Street Fair since.  Harrison Fest continues to hold other activities including Turkey Drive and Holiday Parties in November and December of each year.

Explore More Photos of Harrison Fest:

Harrison Fest Street Fair Photographs

Harrison Fest Parade Photographs

Harrison Fest Queens Gala

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