New Jersey always does it big. So it’s unsurprising that for its 10th birthday, the New Jersey Hall of Fame threw a celebration for the ages. Live music, engaging performances and wild laughs were only a few headlines from Asbury Park’s Paramount Theater on May 6. In just 10 years, the hall of fame has honored nearly 150 inductees; often in front of a sold out crowd.
As usual, the inductee list included a mix of incredibly inspirational individuals and stars. Though the 16 inductees were separated by 5 categories, they all stood out. The categories – Arts & Letters, Enterprise, Performing Arts, Public Service and Sports – each included 2-4 honorees. (Click here to see the full list of inductees.)
Each year, the New Jersey Hall of Fame recognizes an “Unsung Hero” who exemplifies unyielding determination and valor. At this year’s ceremony, the organization honored Kevin Hoagland, founder of the Central Jersey Spinal Cord Association (CJSCA). The CJSCA raises money for scientific research in an effort to find a cure for paralysis.
The 10th Annual New Jersey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
To begin with, New Jersey celebrities started pouring in at 5:30 pm on Sunday evening. Those responsible for making the annual event possible walked the lavish red carpet first to get the night started. Before long, guests saw superstars like former New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera; founding member of the Village People Felipe Rose; Sopranos and House of Cards star Al Sapienza, and former Rutgers star Eric LeGrand. The red carpet procession ended with the arrival of the inductees.
The 10th Anniversary’s Master of Ceremonies was a hilarious Whoopi Goldberg, who currently resides in New Jersey. Even through a minor prompter malfunction, Goldberg kept the night moving and the audience smiling. The show wasn’t without a few surprises; like former inductee and music legend Bruce Springsteen presenting bandmate Van Zandt with his award. The pair followed up the moment with a jovial performance.
The 10th Annual Red Carpet Induction Ceremony for the New Jersey Hall of Fame was a momentous event; not just because of its 10 strong years, but because of what New Jersey can look forward to. The Garden State has birthed and fostered a plethora of international talent. The New Jersey Hall of Fame is celebrating a milestone anniversary, to be sure. But there’s no shortage of influential people in our midst; which means the organization will be honoring milestone anniversaries for decades to come.
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All Photos: © Patrick Lombardi / Best of NJ