'Party On The J' Was A Huge Success - Again!
By Larry Blustein
HOLLYWOOD - When it comes to throwing a party, this is one city that has proven - over and over again - that it can stand up against the best.
Two weeks ago, one of its largest gatherings took place in Downtown Hollywood when thousands poured in for the annual St. Patrick's Day festival that featured food, music and a parade that continues to get better every year.
Last Sunday, the second annual ‘Party on the J’ - Johnson Street International Festival was held in the heart of Johnson Street's Business District (between 56th and 59th. Once again, thousands flocked to the western area of the city - and like everything else this city hosts, it was once again a huge success.
"This is really great and I wasn't going to come here because I thought it would be a few things and that was all," admitted Carl Merritt, who along with his sister, Diane, had heard about the 'Party On The J' event from neighbors. "This is really great and something I would come back to."
Starting at 12 noon and running until 6 p.m., there was FREE Music, Art & Food as dozens of local businesses put their best foot forward in what was truly, a showcase event.
As live music played throughout the day on the west stage, there were other things going on as well - with DJ Oski on the east stage, great food available for the length of the three plus blocks, a Power of Play Kids Zone sponsored by Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, a Mobile Health Unit, health screenings sponsored by Memorial Health System, Chalk Art Activities - Sponsored by the Hollywood Art & Culture Center as well as a variety of local artists featuring original artwork & handmade jewelry.
In addition to so many Johnson Street businesses taking part, there were several gifts awarded through a raffle that brought you into places such as Tropical Oasis, Burdette, Beckmann, Inc., Joan's Florist, Hispanic Unity of Florida, Memorial Regional Hospital, Presence Community Acupuncture, Donald Auto Repair, Gino's Italian Market,Grant Campbell's Karate, Best Appliance of Broward, Mimi's Ravioli, Larry's Js Lounge, Gemco Paint, Inc., Edco Awards, Florida South Realty, Testa & Sons Signs, the Law Offices of Rudolf M. Di Lascio, Jr., PA and Reliable Title.
This is an event that has taken a lot of planning to be successful and the first two years have shown that if you feature many of your top businesses - along with others from across the region - people will come.
"We just stopped over at Mimi's Ravioli and had some delicious food," Grant Allen of Miami Gardens said. "I believe we are headed to Gino's now to sample some of their foods and wine. Great weather and a lot to do. That is what will make this something to come to each year."
For something to run so smoothly, you not only need people to step up and carry out the ideas and plans, but sponsors and vendors as well.
Sponsors such as Broward 100, The City of Hollywood, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital at Memorial, Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza, X-Press It, Waste Pro, Bravo Supermarket, Peterson's Harley Davidson, Miramar Bakery, Hollywood Kia, SUN Credit Union, Cool Moon A/C and Cobra Joe Production.
"I was impressed with the way this whole thing came together," Ariel Montanez of Hollywood explained. "I live two blocks away and missed last year's first festival, so I came today and spent two hours here already. I think if anything, it will get people to come back to this area to spend money and pump up our economy."
Getting to know businesses such as Greenhouse of Orchids, One of a kind Cermaic Art Pieces, J&K Jewelry, Sign A Rama, Marie Belle Chocolaterie, Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Broward County Commissioner Beam Furr, Makalu Jewerly, Dr. Phone Fix, ELD Jewelry Design, Post Haste Pharmacy, Universal Roots Design, Pest Pro Service, Dance Explosion & Edward Blair, Jaycees Junior Chamber of Commerce, Blue Cross Blue Shield, 4 Life Supplements, Norvo Nordisk, Zen Fusion Massage, Preferred Automotive, Pest Enders, Sabrina Designs, Best Appliance of Broward, Into The Woods, Vintage Bicycles, St. George's Greek Orthodox Church, JWC Realty, Test & Sons Signs and Blue Bell Ice Cream.
As many walked the street festival, they were also treated to the Cool Hand Band, demonstration by Grant Campbell Karate, Greek Dancers, Chaminade-Madonna Drumline and plenty of prize giveaways.