Autumn Lights Fest expected to draw thousands

Community event features rides, live music, and more

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  • Union Valley Road near Pinecliff Lake in West Milford will be packed Saturday at the township's annual Autumn Lights Festival. photo by Lynn Hazelman

  • Headgear can get pretty silly at the Autumn Lights Festival in West Milford. photo by Lynn Hazelman

Thousands of folks are expected to turn out this weekend for the township's wildly popular Autumn Lights Festival, known locally as ALF, say organizers.

Now in its 23rd year, the event was started to celebrate the installation of a traffic light at the corner of Marshall Hill and Union Valley roads.

"It made people stop and take notice of our township," said Rocky Hazelman, who chairs the ALF Committee. He estimates that 20,000 people will attend this year.

Now what started as a small celebration in front of Town Hall has morphed into a huge event that shuts down Union Valley Road near Pinecliff Lake for one day each fall. The number of vendors has grown from 30 to close to 300, said Hazelman, who has a small family farm on Macopin Road.

There's everything from live music and Zumba demonstrations, to good food, rides and all sorts of family entertainment.

New this year, Hazelman said, is a "Character Parade." It starts at 10 a.m. and children and the adults who accompany them are invited to strut their best costumes. The parade starts at the triangle near ShopRite and proceeds to the children's entertainment area near the West Milford Vision Center.

The parking situation is, he said, "at will." But there will be shuttle bus service from three locations, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Hillcrest Community Center, Macopin Road; the West Milford Recreation Center, Cahill Cross Road; and the former A&P parking lot. The fest drop-off point is a TJ Maxx.

Union Valley Road will be closed from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. between Marshall Hill Road and White Road with local traffic only between White Road and Bearfort Road.

Festival-goers are asked to leave their four-footed friends at home. Service animals are welcome.

Among the musical acts at the Main Stage in the Pincecliff Lake Parking Lot are: Zuke Tunes (10 a.m.-12 noon); The Kootz,(1-3 p.m.) and Blue Sky Band (3-5 p.m.)

Starting at noon, other acts are to perform on a second stage, including students from the North Jersey Guitar & Music Center, and Garrett Gardner, who was a finalist on "The Voice."

Performances in the children's entertainment area include: Princesses Belle and Poppy, alohas Ashley and Princess Moana, sing-a-longs, magic and dancing.

Starting Monday, West Milford Channel 77, WM77tv will be launching its fourth season as the local Public, Educational & Government channel. It will have a table at the festival where it will distribute its new schedule.

Rainy weather could postpone the fest until Sunday, so check the fest's website,, for weather updates.

"Right now things are looking great," Hazelman said. "We're looking forward to seeing all our residents and their families join us for our annual celebration of West Milford."
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