James Ward, real estate developer and owner of the James Ward Mansion, has funded the permanent addition of the Rainbow Crosswalk to downtown Westfield. Originally commissioned to celebrate Pride Month last June 2020, the crosswalk was not meant to be a long-term project, but when Ward heard that the town wanted to keep it up, he jumped right in to ensure the longevity of a cause close to him. Ward has been aware of the struggles of the LGTBQ+ community for decades and uses his banquet hall and resources to give back.
His care for LGBTQ+ issues started when he was working in Key West during the 1980s. For people who were not accepted in their hometowns, Key West was an oasis. “I would interact with LGBTQ+ people there every day and it was eye-opening. They would talk about the towns that they came from and how they were not accepted, and a lot of them felt like they couldn't really be who they were. I found that to be awful and it really stuck with me over the years.”
After gay marriage became legalized during the 2010s, Ward and his business partner and brother, John Ward, wanted to make it clear that they would provide a venue for all couples to get married in. As owners of one of the most popular venues in the area, they wanted to make it a point to welcome LGBTQ+ couples and provide a lovely space for them to get married. “We made it very clear that we were supportive of this movement and we wanted people to know that we embrace LGBTQ+ marriage,” Ward said. “ At the same time, we were reading in the papers that many vendors throughout the country were saying they wouldn't participate, so we wanted to get out in front of it. We reached out to people in the community and publications to make it clear that we would love to have their business.”
Ward’s support for the LGBTQ community ties in with his love for weddings. “I think that a wedding is a commitment between two people when they are stating how much they love each other and that they are spending the rest of their lives together. That's what a wedding represents to me.” So during the beginning of COVID, when a gay couple lost their venue for their upcoming wedding, Ward reached out to them and offered the mansion for free. “They had a wonderful wedding, they were extremely thankful, and it worked out wonderfully. That is something that made me feel very good,” he said.
Earlier this year, when Ward found out that the town government would allow the Rainbow Crosswalk to be permanent, he jumped right in and knew he would love to get involved. Ward admires the crosswalk not just for its looks, but more for what it represents and reveals about Westfield. “ I think it looks beautiful, but more than that I think it means that we are an open-minded town, are all-inclusive and it lets people know a lot about Westfield. I am very proud that I live here and that my 10-year-old son attends school here,” he said.
Tying all aspects of Ward’s story together is the quote that he lives by, “You have enemies. Good. That means you've stood up for something in your life.” (Winston Churchill). “I admire Churchill very much. He was a very strong person and when he had to, he would use force to accomplish what he had to get done. And I fully believe in that. I grew up in Northern Ireland and joined the Troubles, which is a war. I would see the Irish fighting for their rights against the English — and even though Churchill was English, I happen to agree with a lot that he said. What you need to stand for, you must do,” he said.
Additionally, Ward owns Selfie Stations NJ and plans to promote Pride month there as well. “I built Selfie Stations NJ and we are designing some of the booths for Pride month. We are adding the colors of the LGBTQ+ flag and on the window, we have a sticker that says proud sponsor of the crosswalk. It's something that's very near and dear to our hearts, and it's something that my brother and I both stood up for. We are raising my 10-year-old boy so he understands acceptances and that all of us are equal, regardless of whom we love.”
Residents, visitors, shoppers and diners are invited to enjoy the free music at the 24th Annual Sweet Sounds Downtown Music Festival while strolling, dining and relaxing at the various outdoor venues around town featuring live musicians. Sponsored by the Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC), the festival takes place every Tuesday evening during July and August, from 7pm to 9pm. Rain dates are the following evening, Wednesday, each week. While listening to the musical performances of “Sweet Sounds Downtown”, enjoy dining at one of Westfield’s fine restaurants or stroll and shop along the charming downtown streets.
We hope to see you there!
Westfield Department of Public Works
Internationally recognized street artist Anthony Cappetto works in 3D illusions and 4D augmented reality using paint, chalk to create conceptual, thoughtful murals and street art across the US. This summer you can check out his work on Quimby Street in downtown Westfield.
Mr. Cappetto will begin his street art on June 14th and it will be complete by Friday, June 18th. But don't wait to see the fantastic art as it will disappear with the wet weather.
During the weekend of June 18th through the 20th discover chalk AddamsFest characters, created by local artists, hidden throughout downtown.
Feeling inspired? Create your own street art chalk designs using free chalk available from downtown Westfield merchants for a limited time and while supplies last.
Acting Out School’s Summer Camp Series, for ages 4 to 10. June 14 through August 13. Sign up for in-person weekly camps of varied times and levels at this premier acting school that takes kids from beginner to Broadway professional. Learn acting, musical theater, TV, film — and how to be fabulous.
Keep an eye out for information on an upcoming Broadway workshop that is still in the works.
Whether your child just needs to break out of their shell, or prepare for a Broadway audition, Acting Out has done it all, and their staff of professional working actors and musicians know what it takes. They have worked with hundreds of students, bringing out their potential. Their tremendous success rate speaks for itself.
CAMP & PARTY OPEN HOUSE Thursday, May 27
New this summer: Get snap happy at Camp Funshine at Selfie Station NJ. Choose from a variety of weekly thematic age-appropriate, in-person camps in a clean, interactive and joyfully-creative space. With 16 camp themes — ranging from Princesses to Pop Stars & Llamas in pajamas to TikTok Dance Camp — there is something fun for everyone.
Counselors are local high school theater students with a passion for performing arts. Campers will enjoy daily crafts, dancing, interactive story time, snacks, and photo shoots to create their camp scrapbook.
AR Workshop, a crafty DIY studio, has in-person morning and afternoon camps in July and August. Have fun putting your spin on tie dye, cactus rocks, animal wood blocks, macrame plant hangers with painted pot and all the classic favorites — wood planks, mini trays, string art, and so much more. Check the calendar for general availability for in person camps, ages 8 and up.
Not able to make camp? Get a summer art box subscription!
Join in person at Camp Blende. Does your child love makeup? Do they want to be a makeup artist? Learn the age appropriate — vs scary and overdone — looks for days and parties — and a history of makeup styles through the decades. They’ll be in good company with celebrity makeup artist Keira Karlin, owner of Blende, and fellow campers, ages 10 and up.
Whether they are more Broadway or more rock, Valencia School of Music will have them singing, playing and performing in a variety of in-person full- and half-day summer camp programs. July 19 through August 20th. Ages 4 to 7, 7 to 13, 13 to 17.
NJ Workshop for the Arts will have in-person ensembles and ensemble camps for summer 2021— stay tuned for details to come. The Summer Arts Workshop is also in development with music, art, and more starting at age 4 and up.
NJ Workshop for the Arts provides private lessons and has a music therapy program, Music Connection, for kids with special needs, starting at pre-K.
July 6 to August 13 1, 2, 4 or 6-week online dance camp, ages 6 to 10; 11 and up.
Get them dancing with WSOD in Your Home Online Summer Dance Camp at Westfield School of Dance, an online summer dance camp offering a variety of classes to choose from including classes just for boys, preschool and even family dance.
With kids on screens more than ever, it is time to get them out of the house and get them moving again! 908 Athletics kids and teens in-person program teaches your children about fitness in a fun, safe, and motivating environment. Your kids deserve to be happy and healthy. Sign them up for a free drop in so they can get out some of that pent up energy!
CrossFit Kids (ages 7 – 11):
Westfield : Mondays at 3:45pm – 4:30pm
CrossFit Teens (ages 12 – 14):
Westfield : Wednesdays at 3:45pm – 4:30pm
Discover the favorite destination for photographers and influencers — the rainbow crosswalk, pastel buildings, the historic Ironbound building. Achieve the best-ever selfies at Selfie Station NJ, where you can sign up for summer camps each week. Snap the twinkle lights of Quimby, painted butterflies in town — on the corner of Quimby & Elm, Elm and North, at Evalyn Dunn, Alania Aesthetics, and throughout Mindowaskin Park. Discover the painted piano on Quimby and the Roig Westfield murals under the train trestle.
Don't miss Chalk It Up to Summer — 3D Chalk Art Exhibition and Hunt for Chalk Characters throughout Downtown.
See the completed art Friday, June 18 through Sunday, June 20, weather permitting. Internationally recognized street artist Anthony Cappetto works in 3D illusions and 4D augmented reality using paint, chalk to create conceptual, thoughtful murals and street art across the US — and this summer you can check out his work on Quimby Street! Discover chalk AddamsFest characters hidden throughout downtown and created by local artists. Create your own designs using free chalk available from downtown Westfield merchants during this weekend.
Sponsored by Nettl Metro and the Westfield Public Arts Commission.
Car racing for the whole family Saturday, June 12, 2021 from 1 to 6 PM under the tents on Quimby Street.
Experience the excitement of racing when you drive your mini 1/18th scale electric car at the speed of up to 200 mph in the Mini Grand Prix Race. The cars are driven with real steering wheels and throttles on a 20’ x 20’ track.
Winners will get entered into a random drawing for prizes.
Free admission sponsored by Extreme Party Racing.
2 to 3 nights a week all summer, Friday & Saturdays 6:30 to 8: 30 PM. Check the schedule here. In July, Sweet Sounds Downtown Music Series every Tuesday from 7 to 9 PM in various locations.
The Town Book Store is brimming with good recommendations and a sweet section for kids with toys and all the best books for every age.
This Union County location with a Main Street USA feel is often referred to as Bestfield by locals—and it’s easy to see why with tree-lined sidewalks, unique shops mixed with brand-name ones, and a generally convivial atmosphere.
With Westfield’s 300th birthday this year, there are lots of things to do in downtown Westfield. Kids can hunt to find 30 painted butterflies strategically placed around town, installed by the Westfield Public Arts Commission in honor of the milestone event. After, check out Baron’s Drug Store, an old-fashioned pharmacy for fun trinkets and toys. And of course, you’ll need photos for the ‘gram, so a stop at the Selfie Station (the first and only selfie museum in NJ) will give you the backgrounds and ring lighting to get snap-happy.
Boxwood Coffee is also a must for great local coffee and to-go snacks. Finally, let some energy out at Mindowaskin Park with its recently renovated playground, and don’t miss the little duck pond close by.
photo via @meaghanbmurphy featured on @bestfieldnj
Give a Beyond Main Downtown Westfield e-gift card to use among many favorite local shops in downtown Westfield.
Support local with an online gift card good at 15+ local downtown Westfield businesses.
Choose among buy online, pick-up in-store, curbside delivery, email delivery of the Beyond Main Downtown Westfield gift card. Purchase from multiple stores and check out with one transaction.
Open Quimby, Downtown Westfield’s popular pedestrian plaza, is back for another season, featuring enhanced aesthetics, expanded outdoor dining, and entertainment for all ages.
Open Quimby was created in 2020 as the result of the restrictions placed on retail and restaurant establishments arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. “The DWC believed that it was critically important last year to provide outdoor space in our downtown to allow residents and visitors to dine outside and safely congregate in small groups,” said Zuckerman. “While some of those restrictions have been eased, the pedestrian plaza concept proved so popular that the DWC voted to bring the plaza back again this year.”
This year’s version of Open Quimby will be significantly enhanced from last year, with the advent of beautiful new tents for outdoor dining and activities, state-of-the-art bistro lighting that will illuminate the plaza, and aesthetic features such as a newly installed sign pole displaying the distance between Quimby Street and local and international destinations.
“I am thrilled that Open Quimby is returning for another great season,” said Mayor Shelley Brindle. “Throughout the pandemic, our local businesses have shown such resiliency and dedication, and Open Quimby is a great community asset to assist in supporting them. I’m looking forward to welcoming residents and visitors to experience the fantastic dining and retail offerings of Downtown Westfield in this enhanced outdoor gathering space.”
In addition to expanded outdoor dining space, Open Quimby will feature a variety of entertainment and programming:
Enjoy your meal outdoor with expanded dining under the tents. There are dedicated tents for "take out" where you can sit outdoors with your meal from any of downtown Westfield's restaurants. Find the full list of dining establishments here.
Restaurant's on or adjacent to Quimby have covered dining under the Quimby tents. Reservations are recommended.
The Brick Oven 908.317.9500
Fiamma Wood Fired Pizza 908.654.0400
Spice Bazaar - Modern Indian Dining 908.389.1888
Will be performed on Friday and Saturday nights, weather permitting.
|April 31||Blue Americana- Glenn Alexander and Oria|
|May 1||Patrick Gannon|
|May 7||Free Speech|
|May 8||Blue Sphere|
|May 14||Jake Brown and Billy Wilkins|
|May 15||Clear Stream|
|May 21||Al Madison|
|May 22||Alex Oliveira and Alexandra Cruz|
|May 28||Kai Chiang -New Jersey Workshop for the Arts|
|May 29||Joe Taino|
|June 4||Daniel Rufolo|
|June 5||Ryan Anselmi|
|June 11||Mike Doyle|
|June 18||Charlie Apicella & Iron City|
|June 19||Blue Sphere|
|June 25||The Cucumbers|
|June 26||Blue Americana- Glenn Alexander and Oria|
|July 2||Nick Masters|
|July 3||Patrick Gannon|
|July 9||Alex Desrivieres Trio|
|July 10||MPACK Band|
|July 16||Free Speech|
|July 17||Andy Lackow|
|July 23||Forget the Whale|
The ever-popular Sweet Sounds Downtown Music Festival returns on Tuesday nights from 7:00 – 9:00PM in July and August, located in three socially-distanced locations — Quimby Street., Central Avenue, and Foundation Park on South Avenue West.
Register online and bring a mat, mask, and water.
9:00 AM Barre3 register at https://linktr.ee/barre3westfield
10:00 AM Brassy Buddha Yoga register at firstname.lastname@example.org
8:30 AM Brassy Buddha Yoga register at email@example.com
10:00 AM Satsang Yoga register at www.satsangyogastudio.com
7 PM to 8:15 PM Wednesday, June 30th on Quimby Street, under the tents
Come learn the quintessential kettlebell exercise — the swing — from RKC and Art of Strength trained instructors. All are welcome, whether you're new to kettlebells or you're a seasoned vet.
Register by phone, text or email 908.487.7244 or firstname.lastname@example.org
B.Y.O.B.'s (bring your own bells!) $10/person
Need to use Westfield Fitness bells? $20/person
***Space is limited and pre-registration is required***
Every dollar collected will be donated to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.
Big thank you to the Stop & Shop of Westfield which will provide water and bananas for workshop participants!
Effective April 30, Quimby Street will become a one-way street, with cars moving in the direction from Central Avenue to Elm Street. One-way traffic will flow on this side of Quimby 7 days a week. The eight non-angled parking spots on the north side of the street will be open seven days a week specifically for 15-minute curbside pickup and delivery vehicles only, which will be strictly enforced by the Westfield Police Department.
Check back here as Open Quimby’s programming as the season unfolds. You may also email email@example.com with any questions.