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CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia
Communications Director
908-527-4419 • Cell: 908-770-3662



The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders in conjunction with main sponsor Overlook Hospital are proudly presenting MusicFest ’08 on two days--Friday, September 5th  (4-10 p.m.) and Saturday September 6th (10 a.m.-10 p.m.) at Nomahegan Park in Cranford.

Last year, MusicFest drew more than 50,000 attendees and more are expected this year, making the event one of the state’s fastest growing. This year’s two-day event will once again feature expanded opportunities for musical entertainment as an additional stage has been added, family fun with Kids Kingdom in a new larger location, more food and new vendors, plus a walkathon and newly added 5k race for charity. Lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets may be brought to the event.

MusicFest ’08, a free admission festival now entering its 11th year, kicks off that Friday with concerts from 4-10 p.m. at Nomahegan Park in Cranford. The next morning, the Rock on! Walkathon and 5k Rock N’ Run (on a certified USATF course) will precede the festival at 8 a.m. to benefit the Love Hope Strength Foundation (www.lovehopestrength.org) and The Valerie Fund (www.thevaleriefund.org).

Following the conclusion of the charity fundraising walkathon and 5k run, the festival begins at 10 a.m. The day includes Kids Kingdom Traveling Jubilee, an entertainment show featuring rides and amusements for children, which will be staged in an expanded area at Shane Walsh Field, which is adjoining Nomahegan Park. Kids Kingdom makes several stops in Union County Parks through the year, concluding with MusicFest.

The Shane Walsh Field area will also include a stage for family acts, a petting zoo for children, arts and crafts, and a laser tag field for children.

At Nomahegan Park, there will be a series of rock concerts on three stages, with a headlining act scheduled in the evening on Saturday. There will be a marketplace for vendors that includes Major League Baseball, an expanded music-related gift shop, and various exhibits.

Freeholder Chairman Angel G. Estrada said the County is pleased to build on last year’s successful festival and present an expanded and improved MusicFest.

“We have built MusicFest into a regional attraction for family fun and music,” said Estrada who is one of the chairs of the Rock On! Walkathon and 5k Rock n’ Run. Others who are chairing the walkathon and run include: Janet Keating (past chairperson of The Valerie Fund); Lou Fernandez (founding principal of Imperial Construction in Elizabeth) and his wife, Celia.

This year’s Rock on! Walkathon and 5K Rock N’ Run will raise money to support children with cancer and blood disorders in NJ and global cancer centers.

“The Freeholder Board shares a commitment with both charities in working to find a cure and improve treatment for cancer,” Estrada said. “We welcome the Love Hope Strength Foundation back again, and we take great pride in announcing a new partnership with The Valerie Fund, which is a local charity with Union County roots.”

The Love Hope Strength Foundation (LHSF) is an international charity with chapters in the US, UK and Australia. Founded by leukemia survivors Mike Peters of the Welsh rock band the Alarm and President of CSI Entertainment James Chippendale with the goal of providing all cancer patients with the same opportunities that they had, including access to information, quality cancer treatment and the best medication available.

“On behalf of the Love Hope Strength Foundation, I would like to once again thank the Freeholder Board and the County for their support in allowing us to partner for this benefit,” said Chippendale. “This will allow our foundation to provide critical funding for cancer  centers worldwide and help children with cancer and blood disorders in New Jersey.”

The Valerie Fund provides support for the comprehensive health care for children with cancer and blood disorders. The fund maintains eight centers in the tri-state area, but monies raised by the walkathon and 5k run however will be to support new programs at their first, original Children's Center in Overlook Hospital in Summit.

“It is an honor to partner with Union County, the Freeholder Board and the Love Hope Strength Foundation,” said Valerie Fund Executive Director Barry Kirschner. “Through this partnership, we will be able to do more to help children and their families who suffer from cancer and blood disorders and make a huge difference in their lives.”

The Valerie Fund is a non-profit organization established in 1976 in memory of nine-year-old Valerie Goldstein by her parents, Ed and Sue, who saw the need for making quality outpatient care available close to a child’s home. They realized that parents and their sick children should not have to contend with exhaustive commutes to reach adequate medical care. Their grass-roots effort began in their basement with the help of friends and family.

The Valerie Fund’s Children’s Centers now comprise the largest network of health care facilities for children with cancer and blood disorders in New Jersey and is one of the largest in the nation. The centers hosts approximately 28,000 patient visits each year.

Last year, the fundraising walk raised more than $75,000 for both the Love Hope Strength Foundation, and the New Jersey Citizens Coalition for Cures, a statewide not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the importance and potential benefits of stem cell research.

In the event of rain, MusicFest will be held at Kean University, however the Rock on! Walkathon and 5K Rock N’ Run will continue to be held in Cranford. Sponsors include Overlook Hospital (presenting sponsor), The Hartford, Elizabethtown Gas, Wal-Mart, Anheuser-Busch, Kean University, Commerce Bank, Verizon, Harrah’s, Rio22 and others. The Holiday Inn on Route 22 in Springfield will again provide discounted room rates for MusicFest attendees. Musical acts will be announced soon, and posted at www.ucmusicfest.com.