The Millburn Education foundation’s annual music festival and fundraising event, Rocktoberfest, is coming up this Saturday.

Studio 462, in particular, has a lot to owe to the Education Foundation. Without them, we wouldn’t have our top-notch cameras, live-streaming service, or even this website you’re currently on.

The day will truly be packed with activities, from 9 am to 9:30 pm and from 9:30 pm to 11:35 pm. With a day containing that much, I knew planning it must have been an immense effort. Therefore, I interviewed Joanna Parker-Lentz, Micole Richter, and Sharyn Stein, major organizers of the event, to get a more behind the scenes look at the planning and why it is so important for our community.

1. How far in advance does the Education Foundation begin planning Rocktoberfest?

Joanna Parker-Lentz: Planning begins in January for the September event.

2. When did the idea for hosting this event come about?

Sharyn Stein: This came about 4 years ago at a lunch to thank our Ed Foundation supporters.  At the time, work had just been completed on the newly renovated Main street.  We thought it would be a great  opportunity to create build an event to celebrate the community  and support our schools in that newly  beautiful space. It was a great way to open up our new Main street with a big music festival fundraiser.  Once the smaller group was brought together for the actual planning of the event that still had no name, each committee member had their own reason for connecting to a live music event and combining their talents to present the first Rocktoberfest.  It was the first time in the history of Millburn that we Main Street was closed  and even had a beer garden! The event was a such a success that following year we moved Rocktoberfest to the bigger venue of Taylor Park. 

3. What distinguishes this event from the fundraising events held in Millburn?

Micole Richter: Unlike our other fundraisers that are geared towards parents, Rocktoberfest is a family event which provides entertainment for all ages. We have a Kid Zone, Fun Run, and Arts & Stem Expo that appeal to the younger set. For the teens, we have carnival games and our new Teen Lounge. Plus, we have a number of teens performing, including Millburn’s own Soulfege A Cappella group. All attendees will enjoy the live music, a wide variety of food, free fitness classes, and shopping. New this year are our Art Competition, Tennis Round Robins and Drills, and Basketball Tournament. The event itself is free and open to the public, including friends and family from out of town.

Sharyn Stein: Rocktoberfest is a celebration of our schools and our community’s commitment to support our children’s education. All are welcome and at Rocktoberfest there is something for everyone — old & young, newcomers & old-timers, sports fans & art aficionados.  So sing along with your neighbors — come… celebrate in the park!

4. Why is it especially important to support education in Millburn?

Sharyn Stein: Thriving public schools are essential to the vitality and economic well-being of our community.  Strong public schools prepare students to become productive workers and informed citizens, foster friendships that transcend neighborhood boundaries, strengthen property values and engender civic pride.  Millburn has long enjoyed a reputation for the highest quality education and the Ed Foundation has played a paramount role in funding grants that distinguish our schools as the top performing in the state and nation.  We want that to continue!  Millburn’s students should be exposed to a wide variety of learning experiences which prepare them for educational and occupational success. Simply put, school budgets are tight and the MEF allows teachers to do more and give more to their students.  Since its inception, MEF has striven to unite the Millburn community and School District to push the envelope in new and innovative ways to provide the best education    possible to its students. 

5. How do you hope people will feel upon arriving and leaving the event?

Joanna Parker-Lentz: We hope people arrive ready to have a good time while simultaneously supporting our schools and when they leave we hope they are completely blown away by the music and all of components that make this day incredible with free fitness classes, amazing sponsor tables, as well as a boutique retail row and delicious food that is perfectly curated to offer a perfect day for all.

6. What is one key change made between Rocktoberfest 2018 and Rocktoberfest 2019?

Joanna Parker-Lentz: We have elevated our music offerings even more, added an art contest where attendees can vote for their favorite art at the Art Tent and we also expanded our athletic endeavors to include basketball and tennis!