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Lack of interest cancels the Autumn Lights Festival

West Milford. A sign of changing times?

| 02 Sep 2021 | 01:02

The Township of West Milford and the Autumn Lights Festival Committee have jointly made the decision to cancel the Autumn Lights Festival (ALF) scheduled for Oct. 9, 2021.

The announcement was made by William Senande, Township Administrator/Clerk on Tuesday.

Cost, lack of participation and safety concerns were the reasons that led the Autumn Lights Committee to unanimously vote to cancel the event.

Announcement from Senande’s office said the committee took pride in putting the event on at no cost to the township or its residents, but this year these objectives cannot be met nor can the quality of festival people came to enjoy be delivered. Hopes were expressed that conditions will change to enable the festival to return in 2022.

The impact from the pandemic

“This difficult decision follows along with Warwick’s Applefest being cancelled and lagging participation and attendance to New Jersey Country Fairs,” Senande said in his statement.

The announcement noted that for 25 years ALF has been a safe, cost-free way for residents to get together and enjoy tasteful treats from many a vendor on a scenic stretch of Union Valley Road.

This year less than one quarter participation from previous food and general vendors was received. Sponsorship, a large key to the financial success was also lagging.

Children have been the most catered to group at the Autumn Lights event.

“Unfortunately this year we were unable to secure a ride vendor and cannot do hands on activities like face painting, coloring books or pumpkin painting,” continued the administrator’s statement. “You know, the fun stuff that lets parents take a breather,”

He said missing the festival this year will not stop it from returning in the future and he hopes an event can be scheduled next year.