East Rutherford responds to Super Bowl snub with big party

While many claim East Rutherford has been given the cold shoulder as the town hosting the Super Bowl, borough officials response is a little warmer – hold the biggest party of the year and invite everyone.

East Rutherford officials will hold the Meadowlands Tailgate Party 2014 on Feb. 2 and you are invited whether you have a ticket to the Super Bowl or not. The caterers have been called, with dozens of vendors signed on to serve. Security has been set in place by East Rutherford‘s Chief Larry Minda and the local police department. Parking planned, shuttles reserved. And entertainment has been booked, with staged performances by artists like “BSTREETBAND” and “The Nerds.”

Although Super Bowls have not allowed tailgating since before 9/11, there was much dissent when it was announced that MetLife stadium wouldn’t accommodate tailgating here in New Jersey. That’s when East Rutherford, located in the shadow of the stadium and next to the trains that will get you to the game, jumped in to host the biggest tailgate event to date.

But events as large as these don’t come cheap. And like a father to the bride, local residents want to know exactly how much does it cost to throw a party in their beloved city in which 1,500 to 3,000 are expected to attend.

“Who’s footing the bill?” a resident asked at last week’s mayor and council meeting held Jan. 21.

Well, no one in East Rutherford, according to Ron Simoncini, president of Axiom Communications and hired promoter for the Meadowlands Tailgate Party 2014.

“This event was never meant for gain of money or profit…but as an event supported by and created for the community,” Simoncini said. “This event is meant to represent New Jersey, while all eyes are on New Jersey.”

Costs are expected to be between $30,000 and $35,000, Simoncini said. The festivities will include international food from over a dozen gourmet food trucks, beer tents, winter-themed games of chance including a snowball toss game, a children’s section that includes a giant blow-up football toss, and the cannoli eating contest held at Annabella’s on Hackensack Avenue.

Transportation will also be included into the overall costs of the event. Attendees can park in local parking lots and school buses will shuttle attendees to different venues throughout the event. The main streets- Park, Orchard and Union- will be closed for the event planned 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“We are some place near the low $40, $42, $43,000 worth of sponsor-only revenue, leaving room for sponsorships to prepay all expenses,” Simoncini said. The only expense not covered in the estimates provided is Simoncini’s fee.

While sponsors for Rutherford‘s Winter Fest, to be held the day before East Rutherford‘s, were few, East Rutherford wrangled up Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, Dunkin Donuts, Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC), Homewood Suites, and the New Jersey Devils for both the East Rutherford event and another held in Secaucus. And they are hoping for more sponsors.

“I’m hoping to get $50,000 in sponsor-generated revenue,” Simoncini said.

East Rutherford councilman Joel Brizzi stated that as of last Tuesday, Jan. 21, the most recent estimate of sponsorship funds will cover all costs of the actual event outside of the promoter’s fee, which is reportedly at about $15,000.

And with no backing from the NFL, East Rutherford has stood on its own making the event possible for the community and for New Jersey and for visitors.

East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella said with the help of Simoncini’s resources, bringing forth the very sponsorships that have kept the Meadowlands Tailgate Party afloat, had produced a cost effective solution to New Jersey football lovers everywhere denied access to their own home game.

Simoncini said he in the end they may even have enough in revenue to give to the East Rutherford‘s Civic Pride Association.

“If the event has a turnout of 1,500 people at $8 to $10 per person, we would officially have all expenses paid. And if we have a turnout of 3,000 people or more, we will have enough to cover costs and contribute to the East Rutherford‘s Civic Pride Association,” Brizzi said.

Bracelets for admission to the tailgate and the concerts can be purchased at $8 in advance at borough hall, Park Tavern, Blarney Station, Annabella’s and The Water Store. Bracelets can be bought on site the day of the event for $10 (children under 12 are free).

Brizzi acknowledged that ticket sales, whether sold in advance or not, are not guaranteed and can be easily influenced by weather conditions and various other outside factors beyond anyone’s control. “Even if the town ends up out of pocket $10 or $15 thousand, it will be worth it,” Brizzi said.

“People pay taxes, not just to have their trash taken out, but to give back to their community. And whoever is concerned about money, is not a community person” Brizzi said.

According to Minda, all the officers of East Rutherford were contributing their time, rearranging their schedules and assisting in any way they can to provide support for the community of East Rutherford in regards to this event. “The costs of the Police Department was very minimal,” Minda said.


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