D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Harvest Moon Ball, featuring musicians and theatre performers, will be held at the Discovery Center at Point Breeze on the evening of Sept. 30.
In the tradition of Joseph Bonaparte, the exiled King of Spain who entertained prominent scientists, artists and leaders here in the 1820s and 1830s, guests are invited to dress as someone who once visited Point Breeze or to come as you are to see “who’s who.”
Prominent people who walked on this land in the 19th century included the Marquis de Lafyette, Dolley Madison, John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, John James Audubon, Louis Mailliard, and Bonaparte’s daughter Zenaide for whom a dove was named. Thirteen thousand years of history provides a creative playground for the imagination of partygoers who choose to participate in the parade of characters, according to a press release through D&R Land Trust.
Improv performances and music by a jazz trio will keep the mood swinging throughout the evening from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Libations and desserts and cheeses from Toscano, a popular Bordentown restaurant, will be served under the full harvest moon.
“We designed this to be an affordable, community-focused event to get people out on the land in an unforgettable setting,” said Linda Mead, D&R Greenway’s president and CEO. “Sunset is magic at Point Breeze. Watching the full moon rise will make this night shine on under the Harvest Moon, like the song.”
The fun garden party will be inspired by the unexpected. Pegasus Theatre, sponsored by Bordentown Arts, a community-based nonprofit, will perform improv. Principals Peter Alexander and Jennifer Nasta Zefutie will bring their theatrical storytelling to an intimate setting inside the Discovery Center, which opened in May 2023, surrounded by colorful exhibits, art, and artifacts of note.
Bordentown’s vibrant arts scene received a boost in the last few years from the recently formed Bordentown Arts.
“There’s an insane amount of talent in this one square mile – just as there’s an insane amount of history,” according to Leon Stanley, who founded the Bordentown Arts nonprofit in 2020 to support arts and cultural experiences within Bordentown City, where he lives with his wife, gallery owner C.J. Mugavero.
“We want Bordentown to be the best it can be. The arts bring a quality of life, are a driver of the economy, and dovetail with the city’s reputation as a restaurant town.”
Musician Justin Lee will lead a talented jazz trio with guitarist Raúl Abbad and singer Monika Ryan, a New York style classic jazz singer who recently released her 14th album, “Playfully.” A local resident, Lee is no stranger to Point Breeze; he played a virtuoso solo of both the U.S. national anthem and the French national anthem on Bastille Day when a delegation from Bordentown’s French sister city, Mortefontaine, visited the preserved property. He’s thrilled that Point Breeze will now be a multi-faceted community asset.
“I’m excited that my kids will get to enjoy the open space and the programs,” he said.
The first Harvest Moon Ball celebrates that Point Breeze is now a Bordentown treasure, preserved forever. Point Breeze is an apt location to celebrate, as well, the recent election to D&R Greenway’s Board of Trustees of longtime Bordentown public servant, former mayor James E. (Jim) Lynch, Jr.
As Bordentown’s mayor in 2020, Lynch seized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve Point Breeze – and with it, the unique character of the small city. Developers had been salivating over the site.
“The Divine Word Fathers, who were here for 80 years, were hounded by developers who wanted to build warehouses or a thousand condos,” Lynch recalled.
D&R Greenway and state Green Acres partners joined with the city to permanently preserve the land.
Lynch, now a city commissioner, joined D&R Greenway’s Board of Trustees in 2023, the latest chapter in a 34-year relationship.
“I started working on behalf of Bordentown with D&R Greenway in 1989 [the land trust’s founding year], and it just blossomed from there,” he said, adding joining the board “is a great honor for me.”
For Point Breeze, Lynch said, “The best is yet to come.”
Admission to the Harvest Moon Ball is by advance ticket purchase by September 25 at www.drgreenway.org or by calling (609) 924-4646. Limited tickets will be available at the door, first come, first served. Proceeds benefit D&R Greenway’s Discovery Center at Point Breeze.