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Monday, May 27, 2024

Norwescap’s NorwesFest Shines Bright in Its Third Year

PHILLIPSBURG (July 3, 2023) – Norwescap, a leading nonprofit organization committed to empowering individuals and strengthening communities, hosted its highly anticipated third annual NorwesFest Family Fun Day on June 24, along with its signature Sunset Soirée.

The “double” event, held at Ort Farms in Long Valley, brought together community members of all ages for a day filled with excitement and entertainment, raising vital funds to support Norwescap’s programs and services.

The day began with some uncertainty about the weather, but to everyone’s delight, the cloudy skies cleared, and a perfect summer day unfolded with seasonal temperatures in the high 70s. Nearly 100 families gathered for the Family Fun Day that offered an abundance of activities, including classic summer favorites like volleyball and facepainting, alongside unique experiences such as the “Egg-plosion” hunt, OMGBubbles, ‘faux’ axe-throwing, and a Seeing Eye Puppy demonstration. Attendees eagerly participated in the many raffle opportunities for thrilling family adventures, with prizes of tickets to popular attractions like Great Adventure, Land of Make Believe, Wild West City, Dorney Park, and the Crayola Factory, as well as exciting activities such as ziplining and rock-climbing. Live music filled the air throughout the day, courtesy of the Honky Tonk Scoundrels, adding an extra layer of joy to the festive atmosphere.

The success of Family Fun Day was made possible by the incredible efforts of dozens of volunteers who graciously offered their time and support. Volunteers from Provident Bank and AmeriCorps members, along with Norwescap staff, dedicated their energy to setting up and ensuring that every aspect of the event ran smoothly, creating a memorable experience for everyone involved.

Following NorwesFest’s Family Fun Day, the Sunset Soirée fostered an additional sense of fun, community and togetherness. The evening’s preparations began with meticulous attention to detail from Norwescap’s dedicated caterers, event planners and volunteers. Chefs artfully curated a delightful array of charcuterie boards to tantalize the arriving guests – a taste of the culinary delights to come. Expert mixologists crafted refreshing cocktails, ready to be savored by attendees as they stepped foot into this unique summertime experience. As the evening began, adults engaged in friendly competition with cornhole boards, bocce ball, and “axe” throwing, along with leisurely rides on a solar-powered carousel. Many took advantage of a photo op with a custom-painted farm scene alongside a full-sized tractor, with the breathtaking valley and mountains as the backdrop. 

Setting the tone for the evening was a spectacular 17-piece band, The Summer Swing Orchestra with lead vocalist Kevin Grey. Their masterful renditions of timeless classics and popular hits enlivened the atmosphere, compelling attendees to tap their toes and take to the dance floor. The barn became a playground of joy and celebration as guests reveled in the melodies and shared unforgettable moments.

Norwescap’s CEO Mark Valli and Board President Jim Buehler welcomed the crowd of nearly 150 guests, then turned over the microphone to Donna DiBenedetto, who shared her inspiring journey with Norwescap that will culminate in her taking her first college class this week at age 54. “Norwescap has given me the strength and courage to stand up, to follow through with things,” DiBenedetto shared with the crowd. “I want to get an education…have a stable career…and help. I want to pass it on to other people who have been where I am. I want to do for others what these people have done for me.”

Later in the event, guests were treated to special musical performances by Norwescap’s own rock ’n’ roll duo CEO Mark Valli on guitar and CDO Heather Thompson on vocals, who wowed the crowd with their version of “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi. Thompson also sang two classics, accompanied by the full band. While this unique, all-day festival provided great entertainment for guests of all ages, it also remained true to Norwescap’s mission of raising crucial funds to support its programs that positively impact more than 30,000 people each year. Attendees embraced the opportunity to contribute, knowing that their generosity would make a significant difference in the lives of individuals and families in need.

“We are immensely grateful to everyone who attended NorwesFest and contributed to its resounding success,” said Thompson. “The funds raised will play a vital role in furthering Norwescap’s mission of empowering individuals and strengthening our communities. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all our attendees, sponsors, supporters and partners for their support and commitment to our mission. We are building an amazing community that will have a lasting impact.”

Norwescap extends its deepest gratitude to everyone who attended the NorwesFest Family Fun Day and Sunset Soirée, as well as the event’s sponsors, including Valley National Bank, ShopRite, NJM Insurance, Mutual of America, PNC Bank, Construction Specialties, PSE&G, UnitedHealthcare, and WRNJ Radio. Together, their unwavering support helped raise record-breaking funds to support Norwescap’s mission, highlighting the incredible impact of collective efforts and reinforcing the organization’s commitment to empowering individuals and strengthening communities, providing pathways towards a brighter future.

Originally established in 1965, Norwescap has evolved into a comprehensive nonprofit organization providing services to over 30,000 individuals in New Jersey annually. The organization offers a broad array of services that support and empower people with low to moderate income, helping them move away from the crisis of poverty and towards a future where they can thrive. Norwescap programs address immediate needs and build strategies for long term success, focusing on education, employment, financial empowerment, health and nutrition, housing and community development, and volunteerism and civic engagement.

For more information about Norwescap and its initiatives, please visit

Mark Valli, CEO of Norwescap, center, with Fred Wasiak, President and CEO of the Food Bank of South Jersey, and Triada Stampas, President and CEO of Fulfill.