BRIDGEWATER — Screaming children as they battled centrifugal force on the Round Up carnival ride mixed with the sounds of sizzling hamburgers at Oakdale Park as Bridgewater held its 20th annual Labor Day Celebration on Monday.
The festival kicked off at 8 a.m. with a 5K race.
Brian Flynn had the top time with 15 minutes, 23 seconds, while Sara Wilfong posted the fastest time for the women runners at 23 minutes, 17 seconds, according to results posted on the town’s website.
Free carnival rides kicked off at 3 p.m., and several hours later the parking lots were full as crowds eagerly sought out thrills, food and live music.
As the young — and young at heart — stood in line to take a spin on the Scrambler and soar above the trees on the Ferris wheel, others set up lawn chairs on the walking track to hear the smooth sounds of jazz and American pop standards.
Just Jazzin’, an area music group, entertained the crowd with tunes from Frank Sinatra, The Flamingos and other artists of yesteryear while decked out in flowery Hawaiian shirts.
Later in the evening, eight-piece soul and funk band Everyday People was set to perform.
A wide variety of edibles could be found, from pork barbecue sandwiches to fried Pop-Tarts.
The array of gastronomic delights was to be found under canopies hosting Boy and Girl Scout troops, the Bridgewater Montessori School and other organizations.
Ezra Kasten, 14, of Bridgewater, was on hand helping to dole out pork barbecue sandwiches.
A First-Class Scout with Boy Scout Troop 38, he was enjoying his first year assisting the troop at the festival.
“It’s going good. We’ve had a steady amount of customers,” he said while taking a quick break.
Ezra said most of the troop’s customers preferred their barbecue sandwiches with coleslaw, though he didn’t particularly care for it.
Nearby, the Old Fashioned Kettle Korn Company was also doing well in sales.
Owner Cliff Rohrer, 56, of Bridgewater, said he’s been coming to the event for at least seven years and has been able to develop brand loyalty among customers.
“We do really good at local events,” he said.
In addition to his regular kettle corn, Rohrer was also offering bags of popcorn flavored with cheddar cheese and green apple with caramel.
“It’s a little sweeter than the regular [kettle corn],” he said.
Rohrer expected to keep selling until the fireworks wrapped up the celebration for another year.
“It’s been a very nice day … hav[ing] been able to visit with old friends,” he said.
Contact Bryan Gilkerson at 574-6267 or email@example.com