Ramsey Day Needs a Reboot


Photo Courtsey of the Relay for Life team

William Kennedy, Copy Editor

Photo Courtsey of the Relay for Life team
Photo Courtesy of the Relay for Life team

September 10th, 2016 saw Ramsey Day take over Island Avenue in front of Ramsey High School. The annual town festival included a parade, carnival games and performers. The array of performers included a juggler, a magician, a wind symphony, a pet show and some inflatable rides, among others. However, the event turned out to be less attended than previous years and was largely over by early afternoon.

In fact, a majority of Ramsey residents do believe that there needs to be a change in this annual tradition. The Ram surveyed 100 Ramsey residents and discovered some interesting information. Of the 100 people surveyed, a whopping 43% elected not to attend this year’s event, while 48% did at some point during the day. When avid attendees were asked what they believe, 75% agree that attendance has indeed dropped over the years. Lastly, only 21% of Ramsey residents asked think that Ramsey Day a tradition worth continuing if it remains in its current incarnation.

However, there is some hope for the event in future years. A majority, 68%, believe it can still be a workable event, contingent upon improvements being made.The event carries some expense and is in danger of being overshadowed by other, more popular venues such as the St. Paul’s carnival, and the Ramsey Farmer’s Market, which includes a plethora of live entertainment.

Yet, Ramsey Day is still an important fundraiser for local groups and businesses. A key concern voiced by residents is that the day’s festivities were mostly geared towards the younger crowd (two mothers pegged age 8 as the upper limit for kids enjoying what’s available) and that the event is over too early in the day. Others noted that having the event in September, when it can still be very hot, is affecting the overall attendance.

When asked about activities that should be added,  80% of survey takers state that they want the beer garden brought back; a former Ramsey Day staple of decades. Secondly, 79% of the Ramsey residents are advocating for fireworks to be added back. The beer garden has been a source of argument over the years as in 2001, a local anti-drunk driving advocacy took over the council chambers and demanded that beer no longer be served at the event. That said, the social aspects of having it are also important. For example, it gives recent Ramsey High alumni, now in the latter part of college, a reason to come and get together. In addition, the fireworks and the laser light show served to keep people interested and in attendance into the early evening.

The beer garden hasn’t been the only controversy surrounding Ramsey Day. An in depth look back at past editions of the Suburban News and Bergen Record show several disagreements. First and foremost, one issue stemmed from a scheduling conflict with Rosh Hashanah in 1999. In addition, a serious argument in 2004 arose about holding the town festival on September 11th. Despite trying to keep the tradition alive in 2004, a group of Ramsey families rallied together and convinced the town to change the date. Similar results were not seen on Rosh Hashanah in the 1990’s.

A majority of folks in town feel that Ramsey Day has potential and simply needs some improvements to remain viable. Some suggestions, in addition to bringing back fireworks, include: more live bands, performance entertainment geared towards older children, more crafts and local artisans, a presentation by a local historian, an artwork display, bringing the Ramsey Run back to the same day as Ramsey day, and pushing the event into October because of the heat.

With these minor changes, perhaps Ramsey Day can once again become an event that brings the town together in celebration of a truly caring community atmosphere.