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Dog Days Report

by Russell Swanson, Exec. Dir., VDID, Main Street Vineland

It’s been a hot time on The Ave for kids this past month, and I don’t mean just the temperature. The second year of Play Streets in Vineland is a wrap and it continues to build momentum.

Let’s look at “the tale of the tape” to look at this year’s success. For the first four weeks (including the first-week “Pop-Up” Play Streets in Roberto Clemente Park), 606 youth attended Play Streets. This includes the previously mentioned 135 youngsters on July 5 (the first week at Sixth and Landis), 121 youngsters two weeks later on July 19, and 145 this past Friday. Add into this television coverage by two Philadelphia television news outlets (one of them coming down on two weeks) and coverage in the local print media. Factor in the exceptionally hot weather we had for three of the weeks and, with everything considered, the results are tremendous.

What all this goes to show is that a definite attraction still exists for good old-fashioned fun for kids. You can get youngsters away from their iPhones, computers, tablets, televisions, and other electronic devices for a period of good, wholesome fun outside in the fresh air. Perhaps it’s true that “what’s old is new again.”

This couldn’t happen without the hard work and dedication of a lot of people and organizations. The Vineland Community Policing Unit and Sgt. Danny Latorre, were the conduit to bring people to the table, which we in Main Street Vineland supplied, but many others deserve credit, as well. This includes the Vineland Health Department, Vineland Municipal/City of Vineland, Vineland Police Chaplains, Vineland Fire Department, Cape May County Sheriff’s Department, Calvary Chapel, Monarch Family Success Center, Center For Family Success-SERV, Make Move Club, Visions of Hope, Walter Rand Institute, Vineland Police Athletic League (PAL), Men Entwined, Higher Places Ministries, YMCA, The Southwest Council, Daniel’s Den Community Center, and Rock of Salvation Church.

Thank you all!

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The military mural project is going full steam ahead. If you haven’t been by the mini-park at the southwest corner of Landis Avenue and the Boulevard, by all means check out the progress that’s been made so far by artist George Perez and his assistants. They’ve been hard at work and the mural is quickly taking shape.

I’ve mentioned before the organizations and individuals who through grants or the donation of goods and services, are making this possible. That however, only covers part of the expense of this initiative. For the rest, and to make this a real community effort, we’re asking for donations. We want to raise $7,500 and we’ve made it very easy for you to contribute your share. Just go to our website——and, on the home page, click on the link for the military mural. You’ll be taken to a page where you can find out more about the project and how to donate; since we’re a 501(c)3 entity, your donation is tax-deductible. No amount is too large or too small. You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve contributed to a great project that beautifies The Ave and, at the same time, honors those—past and present—who defend freedom, our country, and its ideals.

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August is right around the corner and that means—food trucks. You’ll want to come hungry and stay late for our Third Annual Food Truck Festival on The Ave, which will be coming up on Sunday, August 25. This mega-event will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., rain or shine, at Landis Avenue and the Boulevard and will feature more than 22 food trucks, a beer tent, and continuous entertainment and activities for all ages—including Yoga in the Park with Peace Love Yoga. Members 1st of NJ Federal Credit Union will be the major sponsor. Newfield National Bank will be the Entertainment Sponsor, and Little Lamb Preschool and Lidl will be the Kids Corner Sponsors. Further sponsorship opportunities are available. You can keep updated about the festival by going to

On The Ave