The Future is Newark x Halsey Fest took over Newark’s vibrant Arts and Education District in September, welcoming an estimated 3,000 attendees, including students, Newark residents and employees. Presented by Newark Alliance, in partnership with locally owned and operated ANE Clothier and Off the Hanger, the Future is Newark x Halsey Fest offered an opportunity for residents and visitors to support the city’s local businesses, entrepreneurs and nonprofits in the heart of Downtown Newark’s Arts District, Halsey Street.
Entertainer and entrepreneur Alexandra Bernard Simmons hosted the free event Sept. 14, which offered an array of activities for people of all ages. The Future is Newark x Halsey Fest featured a mobile STEM experience by the Girl Scouts Heart of N.J., the Newark Story Bus by Newest Americans, a 360-degree photo booth sponsored by NJCRI, as well as artmaking activities provided by Newark Public Library, the Newark Museum, Newark Arts and STEAM URBAN.
On stage, DJs including Amazing Grace and Bunkr provided music throughout the event. Anthony “Solo” Harris, member of renowned Jersey Club group ENVY, drew a crowd of students from local high schools to activate more than just the kids zone, challenging them to “rock their hips” all along Halsey Street. D Cross, hip-hop emcee and one of the core instructors of New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Arts Education hip-hop program, opened up the live performances featuring HEZ and Khalil Jibran.
“Halsey Fest is a vital piece in our commitment to create inclusive and equitable growth in Newark,” Evan Weiss, CEO and president of Newark Alliance, said. “Our organization is dedicated to supporting and developing Newark’s innovators who are an essential piece to the city’s economy.”
“Prudential is proud to support Halsey Fest, which underscores our commitment to strengthen the commercial corridors of our home city,” Shané Harris, vice president & head of social responsibility at Prudential Financial and president of the Prudential Foundation, said. “Small businesses and the arts are the lifeblood of our communities, and the Halsey Fest event series shines a spotlight on our city’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem and exceptional local talent.”
Halsey Fest, originally created in 2009 by local entrepreneurs and organizers with the support of Rutgers University – Newark, serves as a platform for celebrating the city’s creators. The event highlights Newark’s business owners, entrepreneurs and local culture, ultimately driving foot traffic to Newark’s Halsey Street, a pillar of the city’s downtown neighborhood.
Halsey Fest will kick off its final edition of the festival series Nov. 25, coinciding with Small Business Saturday and welcoming the holiday season. Over four consecutive Saturdays, the event will rally Newark residents and visitors to support their local businesses. In collaboration with the Newark Gift Card, attendees can shop locally, attend bar crawls and scavenger hunts and partake in an array of family-friendly winter activities.