2023 Edition of Millville’s Fourth Friday Kicks off With Huge Crowd, Smiling Faces


Wade Loatman, Millville Mayor Lisa Orndorf and Parks and Recreation director Samantha Cruz talk at Fourth Friday event in Millville on Friday,. May 25. Photo courtesy of City of Millville.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Those interested in donating or becoming a sponsor for Fourth Friday, contact Wade Loatman of Bully Pest Management at 856-507-3022.

By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

MILLVILLE — One of the hardest things to do in building a positive tradition is finding people who share in your vision.

On Friday, May 26, local businessman Wade Loatman had no problem finding people during the opening of Millville’s Fourth Friday Family Picnic at Captain Joseph Buck Park along the Maurice River near downtown.

Hundreds enjoyed free hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and ice cream while listening to the music from DJ Reese as visitors filled the riverside park. The festival is hosted on the fourth Friday of every month through the summer in honor of the community.

The summer monthly event is sponsored by the City of Millville and the CompleteCare Health Network and cosponsored by Bully Pest Management. Millville Mayor Lisa Orndorf and the city’s parks and recreation director Samantha Cruz attended the party as well

“The turnout is tremendous,” said Loatman, the owner of Bully Pest Management. Loatman started Fourth Friday two years ago to help families and residents return to life after COVID-19 lockdowns. In near-perfect weather on Friday, parents drove and even walked to the park, many with children as they enjoyed the food, music and games such a bounce house, face painting and other games.

“The first Fourth Fridays in the books is a success. The community really came together, and it turned out to be a beautiful thing,” Loatman added.

One vendor, Moniqua Byers, is the owner of the homemade crafted Bodi Butta Cream and Bodi Goodies, said she saw Fourth Fridays as a way to connect with the community.

“I came out here because I wanted to intertwine with the community and share with them,” Byers said of her all-vegan products. “We are all natural and we’re changing the game away from chemical products.

“I’m actually very impressed with the crowd. There’s a lot of people out here today. We shared this on the Internet telling everyone to come out. It’s been extraordinary.”

Kay Jones, of Bruce the Barber Foundation, helps out middle class families with children with donations and other services. She talked about her nonprofit at Fourth Fridays as her children enjoyed games and playing with their friends.

“My uncle was a barber and he was very giving to the community,” Jones said. “If he had it, you had it. When he passed away, I wanted to make sure what he did here was never forgotten. If I can help families with book bags, school supplies, and other things, it can help families with multiple kids.”

Bridgeton native and reigning Miss Gloucester County Amber Campbell made balloon animals for children and took pictures with them. She is currently running for the title of Miss New Jersey.

The youth-oriented nonprofit Life Worth Living, led by founder John Fuqua, engaged young people at the event. Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae, the first African American woman to hold the position, talked to youth attendees during the picnic as well.

Loatman said next month’s Fourth Friday on June xx will serve as Millville’s Juneteenth celebration, a first for the city.

“We’re going to have hip-hop dancers, a band and a deejay,” Loatman said. “This is going to be Millville’s first Juneteenth celebration on Fourth Friday and it’s going to be special. What I want people to know about Fourth Fridays is these are multicultural events. Everyone is invited.

“This is a true community event. We don’t have big money behind this. This happens because of the community for the community. We just want everyone to come out, take advantage of this wonderful park and have a great time.

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