More than Just a Car Show on Mt. Prospect Avenue

Jerry Gialanella of Parsippany decided to enter his 1947 Ford Viper Firethorn in the recent Hot Rods and Classic Car Show on Mt. Prospect Avenue in the historic Forest Hill neighborhood in Newark’s North Ward instead of joining friends and fellow automobile enthusiasts at a competing show at a car dealership closer to home.  That decision paid off in a big way when his striking red two-door coupe was awarded top honors as Best of Show, including $350 in prize money in addition to a sizable trophy.


Gialanella, who grew up in the North Ward and attended the inaugural car show on Mt. Prospect Avenue three years ago, had other good things to say about the event. “This is more than a car show where most people just sit in a chair by their vehicles all day,” Gialanella said. “That’s boring; with the great food, music and entertainment at this show, it’s a lot more fun.”


That’s exactly what representatives of the Mt. Prospect Partnership (MPP), an organization representing local business and property owners and residents that has worked hard to revitalize the Avenue, want to hear.


“In addition to creating a family-friendly event for local residents, we wanted to reach out to other people from throughout the greater Newark area, including those with roots in the ‘old neighborhood,’ noted Frank Petolino, the Partnership’s executive director. “This year’s show attracted thousands of local residents and visitors from beyond our community who enjoyed an amazing day and witnessed the great strides we’ve made in terms of streetscape enhancements, new development and quality of life improvements.”


Event highlights included photos with Captain America, Spiderman, Superman, Batman and Bat Girl, the smooth jazz sounds of Frank Piombo and Friends and DJ music, a variety of food and ice cream vendors and children’s entertainment like face painters, stilt walkers, balloon artists and more. Over $1100 in cash prizes was awarded to winners selected from more than 150 vehicles that competed for top honors.


MPP will also be making a donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation with the proceeds from a 50/50 raffle held at the car show to help in the fight against breast cancer. Other event sponsors include Investors Bank, The North Ward Center, Wells Fargo, Trenk DiPasquale, Bloom & Bloom, LLP, Mikesell & Associates, Protective Measures Security, Evco Mechanical Corp.,Hillcrest Management, Felix Lopez Montalvo and A-Plus Computer.


Lissette Morales, an assistant vice president and branch manager with Investors Bank and an MPP board member, believes the family-friendly, neighborhood-focused car show aligns well with the bank’s core values. “Investors is committed to partnering with the communities we serve and contributing to local initiatives,” said Morales. “This event brings together families, businesses and organizations that care about Mt. Prospect Avenue and we are pleased to be able to support and contribute to its continued success.”


“Every year,  we have attracted increasing numbers of local residents and visitors by adding more fun and excitement, including more cars, more kid-friendly activities, and more food options including everything from crab cakes to zeppoles and mofungo,” concluded MPP president Mike Sheehan. “The Partnership is already thinking of ways to make next year even bigger and better.”