‘Rock the Block’ Street Fair and Classic Car Show 2024 defies heat, sells out

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CLARK, NJ — Humidity and a heat advisory did not prevent Clark’s “Rock the Block” Street Fair and Classic Car Show 2024 from selling out.

With quality exhibitors, a special crafter’s section, a classic car show, gourmet food trucks, Crossroads Beer Garden, a kid’s zone, live music and performances, and local merchants and civic organizations, there was certainly plenty to do.

Chief Warrant Officer Nick D’Andrea, Cpl. Sampson Brown, and Joe Leone of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve were hosting a fundraiser for Toys for Tots. “Give the children a holiday season and hope for the future,” said D’Andrea. “Every child deserves a Christmas.” The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation is responsible for Union, Hunterdon, Somerset and Middlesex counties.

Self-published author Mark R. Vogel, of Denville, was promoting his newest book, “The Dark Diaries.” Vogel is a clinical psychologist with a culinary degree. He also self-published a book for foodies called “Food for Thought.”

Christian Cornier is a sales rep for Savvy Fit Soaps, all natural, all vegan friendly soaps, deodorants, and candles. Essential oils are used for fragrance instead of perfume. It’s the company’s sixth year in business. “Our slogan is ‘Really friggin’ natural’,” said Cornier.

The band Fish Eye Blues entertained the crowd, performing original songs such as “The Runaround” off of its first album and classics such as “Johnny B. Goode.”

Ameilia Brown, owner of Rose Petal Parties, provides character entertainment for events. “Any princess you can think of,” she said.

Car enthusiast Al Arbutina, of North Edison, was there with his ’55 Chevy Bel Air convertible.

Mariann Brenner, of Roselle Park, was there with her ’92 Ford Mustang convertible, with an engine size of 5.0. “Guys always want to know the engine size,” she said. It took two years to find the car in red, but she needed a white interior to replicate the Barbie car.

“I’m a ‘Barbie Girl’ forever,” she said. “In the ’60s, Hugh Hefner gave each Playmate of the Month a pink convertible Mustang in Playboy Pink.”

Brenner had her car before the “Barbie” movie, but has taken the car to the movie to let people take photos. “Pay it forward,” she said.

Support Clark Cats is a Trap Neuter and Return Program, which is a humane and effective way to control feral and free roaming cat populations. Gail Baldassarre of Wise Animal Rescue has been aboard with the Clark program prior to when the September 2022 ordinance was adopted. “I came and spoke and educated (as to) why feeding bans don’t work,” she said. “TNR kittens go to foster groups, so they don’t live a life on the street.”

Food trucks included Authentic Greek, Dani’s Kettle Corn, Pat’s Sausages, Mr. Softee, Pasquale’s Zeppoles, Kona Ice, Magic Mike’s BBQ, Jersey Pickles, Eat My Franks, King of the Wings, Really Good Pretzels, Empanada Guy, Dymski Pierogies, Chefs on Wheels, Latin Bites, Messy’s Finger Foods, So Delicious Ice Cream, House of Cupcakes, Manny’s Italian Ices & “Fresh Squeezed” Lemonade and Costal Flavors Lobster Rolls & Crab Cakes.

Sponsors for Clark’s “Rock the Block” Street Fair and Classic Car Show 2024 include Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, Columbia Bank, K Love, American Family Care, USA Karate & Fitness, Northfield Bank, The Weiss Group Inc. and Complete Care.

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta