Monday, June 15, 2009
Festival on the Main Street of the Valley
Orange, NJ and West Orange, NJ meet in the Valley. An area of dense settlement and heavy industry, it developed its own Main Street, Valley Street, sometimes known as Valley Road. This Main Street has sagged with deindustrialization and disinvestment in the area, but it has not given up. On Saturday, June 13, the street was host to the Valley Arts, Music and Poetry Festival, sponsored by Valley Arts, the City of Orange and HANDS, Inc. There was an on-again-off-again rain falling which moved people in and out of the open, the bands, for example, moved under an overhang at Ricci's, a soon-to-be-reopened restaurant. One vendor had the idea to sell toys, bubble machines and yo-yos and Spiderman balloons, which meant that the rain was full of sparkly bubbles. In the middle of the afternoon several fire trucks arrived and firemen gathered for a short ceremony. The City of Orange is mourning the sudden and unexpected death of its fire Chief, Martin DeMarzo, who died during a routine hernia operation. He was 50 years old. He grew up in the Valley, attended Our Lady of the Valley High School, and loved the area. He was a great supporter of the growing arts district, which is helping to revitalize the area. Karen Wells, one of the organizers of the festival, led a ceremony to plant a bush of bright red roses by the Catholic Veterans Monument. The firemen joined in shoveling the dirt, with smiles and good hearts. Indeed, Marty's whole family was soldiering on, Hallie Bondy reported in the Star Ledger. "Marty would have wanted us to go on," said his brother, Eugene DeMarzo. Valley Street/Road will be a good home for Marty's Roses.