Newark Nite changes its hours for safety measures
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 05:05
This year, the 27th annual Newark Nite will change its name to Newark Day due to various incidents that occurred after the festivities in the past, according to city officials.
Joe Spadafino, Recreation Superintendent for the Newark Parks and Recreation Department, said the change will make the event, which normally attracts approximately 30,000 people, safer.
“A couple of years ago, there were a few fights and other incidents at the end of the event, later on in the evening,” Spadafino said. “Young kids were staying around after the event ended.”
In order to make the event more family-oriented, Newark Community Affairs Officer Dana Johnston said Newark Day will take place from 12 to 5 p.m. on June 2, instead of 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
“We want parents to feel comfortable bringing their kids, that was the premiere reason for changing the event,” Johnston said.
She also said while no criminal activities ever happened during Newark Nite in the past, there were some incidents afterward that required police attention. This year, the city is taking action to create a different atmosphere for Newark Day.
“There will be a bigger focus on the kids’ area, where there are games and different activities for them,” Johnston said. “We are moving the main stage from the Newark shopping center to Old College lawn so that it is more centered and closer, so families don’t have to walk far.”
Although locations have changed, the main events taking place at Newark Day will remain the same, Johnston said. Some attractions will include arts and crafts tables and live music, while the main feature will be Dustin Lynch, a current top 25 country music artist. She said local shops and restaurants will also provide attendees with samples and discounts on products and food.
Johnston said Newark Day is held to help residents reacquaint themselves with the various businesses and restaurants in Newark, as well as provide them with an opportunity to walk through Main Street without cars.
“It’s a sort of welcoming to the spring,” she said. “[It’s] an opportunity for people to walk down the center of Main Street and celebrate the weather and the community.”
Although the city is attempting to avoid any potential criminal activity, sophomore Danny Roberts, originally from Newark, said he has attended Newark Nite with his family in the past and is not sure switching the event to the daytime will have any effect.
“I feel like it won’t change anything,” Roberts said. “A lot of people with young kids will do it, get dinner and go home, but the people who will stay later, the high school kids, are the ones who would get in fights.”
Despite his skepticism about the effectiveness of the time change, he said changing the event to daytime will help ensure that families with young children leave before things get out of control.
“It was usually big with the high school kids,” Roberts said. “Around 10 o’clock, whenever it ended, a ton of people would be skateboarding and biking on the street. But no one is going to have their kids out at 10 this year.”
Jane Keeper, of Newark, stated in an email message that she plans to attend Newark Day in June with her family. She said Newark Nite has always been enjoyable and she did not see any of the violence or criminal activity city officials are trying to prevent.
“I am only aware of Newark Nite issues I have read about in the newspaper, we have not experienced anything negative,” Keeper said.
Assistant Vice President of the Office of Alumni Relations, Cindy Campanella, said Newark Day will coincide with Alumni Weekend which is June 1-3. She said the two have been planned for the same weekend to encourage a crossover of attendance for both events.
“We encourage alumni to spend time at Newark Day, to return to campus and visit all their old haunts on Main Street, while some guests attending Newark Day will walk around to see what we are doing and come to some of our events,” Campanella said. “Having it during the day is a great advantage.”