Giralda Festival served picture-perfect picnics and music in Madison

The Morristown Newcomers & Neighbors at the 2019 Giralda Music and Arts Festival. From left: President Florencia Mazurowski, Robyn Hart, Judy Till, Dee Wilson and Babiche Slack. Photo by Kevin Coughlin


By Michael Leavy

Greater Morristown welcomed summer with food, music and prizes over the weekend, at the 2019 Giralda Music & Arts Festival at Giralda Farms in Madison.

This was year 36 for the Festival, which raises funds for Morris Arts. The nonprofit  supports art education in schools, and public arts events across Morris County.

FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT! Young fan enjoys the 2019 Giralda Music and Arts Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Friends and families picnicked and enjoyed a concert by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, led by Chilean conductor José Luis Domínguez, on a sunny afternoon with the gentlest of breezes.

“This is maybe the best weather day we’ve had in all those years. Looks like we have a record crowd,” said Tom Werder, executive director of Morris Arts. An ominous forecast drove the 2018 Festival indoors, at Mennen Arena.

Slideshow photos by Kevin Coughlin. Click/ hover on images for captions:

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Sunday’s picnics were augmented by food trucks, which have been growing in variety.

Trucks with Thai food and empanadas were added this year, Werder said. As in the past, an antique ice cream truck was especially popular.

Comic illustrator Candace April Lee of Morris Plains with her cartoon alto-ego, at the 2019 Giralda Music and Arts Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Another regular feature of the Festival was a vendor area where artists sold handmade creations.

“Our art fair has grown. Different artist join us each time,” Werder said.

Kids found fun at the Montclair Art Museum truck, and at hula hoop lessons. Children from the Lakeland Youth Symphony also performed.

A contest for the cleverest picnic themes awarded hundreds of dollars worth of tickets to shows and other gift certificates, along with bragging rights.

This year’s winner, “Feasting in Fez,” had a Moroccan theme.

The New Jersey Symphony at the 2019 Giralda Music and Arts Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

For many Greater Morristown families, the Festival is a tradition that signals the start of summer.

Dale Carmody, owner of Massage Heights in Morristown, has been coming for years with family and friends.

“We live less than a quarter mile from here and it’s easy and fun, especially when the weather is good,” Carmody said. His picnic included fried chicken, brownies and Prosecco.

The Briscoe family of Morristown also never misses this Festival.

“We’ve been coming since 1992,” said matriarch Pat Briscoe, surrounded by children, grandchildren and friends.

Pat Briscoe, center, in white, with family and friends, at the 2019 Giralda Music & Arts Festival. Photo by Michael Leavy

Why does she keep coming back? “Walking around seeing the different tents, the music, just walking around. The whole atmosphere,” she said.

“The music is always great,” Briscoe added, “and they’ve done a better job getting people in and out.”

Sunday’s program included selections from West Side Story, Porgy and Bess and Aaron Copland’s Rodeo. Works by Astor Piazzolla, Joe Pablo Moncayo and Arturo Marquez added a Latin American flavor.

The 2019 Giralda Music and Arts Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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