If we can slap George Washington onto a dollar bill, who really can complain if the General gets drafted for a football commercial?
Twelve tons of Jersey Shore sand coalesced into a Super Bowl sculpture on Sunday, pairing Washington and a pigskin at the 19th annual Morristown Festival on the Green.
Thousands flocked downtown under sunny skies to nosh on offerings from more than 25 eateries and visit booths staffed by some 150 local merchants and nonprofits.
There was music, from the Heart of Gold Band and Reverse Order, among other acts, and jugglers and kiddie amusements, too.
The big stars, though, were George and his football– created by sculptor Andy Gertler at the behest of the Morris County Tourism Bureau–and the Huddle Shuttle, a traveling exhibition promoting Super Bowl 48. The Vince Lombardi Trophy made an appearance, and kids tested their passing and running skills.
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Morristown’s business community hopes visitors remember this day beyond the final whistle at MetLife Stadium in February.
“We had great bands, great food, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the Super Bowl hosts here,” said Jennifer Wehring, marketing director for the Morristown Partnership, organizer of the Festival. But she added: “We’re a destination any time of year.”
Michael Fabrizio, executive director of the Partnership, estimated that 50,000 people visited the festival over the course of the afternoon. The warm weather surely helped.
“We planned for that,” Michael joked. “It was an extra $25, but it was worth it.”
Celebrities in the crowd included Eric “Fluffy” Glover, a.k.a. the Ticket-Taker Guy, and Jim Hennessey, who owned Hennessey’s Washington Bar for 29 years.
Fluffy, famed for his comic ticket-taking routine at the now-defunct Clearview cinema, said he has applied for his old job to AMC, the incoming theater operators at Headquarters Plaza.
“I’m hoping they hire me back,” he said, as well wishers streamed by with high-fives and words of encouragement.
Jim Hennessey, who sold his bar last year (it’s now called End of Elm), said he is enjoying retirement.
“Some days I don’t even shave,” he said.
Jim returned recently from three weeks in Sarajevo, where his daughter is serving as an ambassador for the Council of Europe.
Another interesting sight was Karen Ulric, representing the International Steampunk City that will invade Morristown’s Historic Speedwell on Oct. 12-13, 2013. Steampunk, she explained, blends modern technology with Victorian costumes and attitudes. Think Jules Verne with an iPhone.
The event will feature “family friendly burlesque,” Karen said. She had a little trouble describing how that works.
Anyway, if you could not make Sunday’s festival, we have plenty of photos here. And for the next month, you can view General Washington and his football in the flesh. Or rather, in the sand. Assuming the elements–natural and criminal–behave.
Preliminary indications suggest that Andy Gertler should have sculpted some big, strong Colonials linemen to defend the General. Some hooligans took a few liberties with the creation as it took shape over the weekend, according to Leslie Bensley of the Tourism Bureau.
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