NORTH BRUNSWICK – It was 25 years ago when Darren Snediker decided to provide a fun weekend for his youth soccer club during opening day ceremonies.
“We had a couple of jumping things, a couple of games and some food vendors,” he said.
The next year youth baseball tagged along.
“It was a joint effort bringing in some small rides … and when I say small, the rides came on a truck and left the same day,” Snediker said.
The teams held parades on Cozzens Lane and settled at Sabella Park for a “fun weekend.”
“We decided to do fireworks, but there was no parking so the [Township Council at the time] said we couldn’t have it at Sabella Park and that’s when we moved to this location [on Route 1],” Snediker said.
The North Brunswick Youth Sports Festival is celebrating 25 years and has tremendously grown from the days of “a couple of jumping things, a couple of games and some food vendors.”
It’s a massive display of carnival rides, games, food and clothing vendors, a petting zoo, music, shows and firework displays. It is located next to DeVry/Chamberlain University on Route 1 North.
Snediker, Rich Fabian and Rodney Reinson co-chair the family fun festival and have a core group of 40 or so volunteers. This year they brought upon local mom Buvana Radhakrishnan, founder and CEO of Digital Meet Sprint, who has coordinated social media, advertising and public relations for the festival.
The festival is a four-week affair, which began this year on June 17 and runs through July 4 with a grand finale. Planning for the massive event is all year round, which can bring upwards to 40,000 to 50,000 people from all over throughout the four weeks.
“It’s a major undertaking,” Fabian said. “Darren and I travel all over to shows to get vendors and different shows [for the festival].”
It is the number one fundraiser for all the sports groups in the township including Adams AC Football and Cheerleading, North Brunswick Baseball and Softball Association, North Brunswick Basketball Association and the North Brunswick Soccer Club.
“We’re talking about 5,000 kids,” Fabian said. “All our registrations are the cheapest in Middlesex County. All of our kids get the best uniforms, best warm up stuff and play all over the country. We have our 12-year-old [baseball team] go to Cooperstown for a weeklong tournament, our basketball groups and our cheerleaders go to Florida.”
The festival for the youth sports groups has been a “homerun” and Snediker, Fabian and Reinson said they could not do it without the support of Mayor Francis Womack and the Township Council and the North Brunswick Township Police Department.
For more information visit www.northbrunswickyouthsportsfestival.com.