Nearby N.J. towns hope to benefit from Super Bowl bucks

Monday, January 13, 2014 | 7:43 p.m. CST; updated 8:28 p.m. CST, Monday, January 13, 2014
MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. — home to the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 — stands in the shadow of New York's skyline. Towns in the surrounding area are planning outdoor festivities, and the parties will proceed even if it snows.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Officials from two towns in the shadows of MetLife Stadium announced plans Monday for outdoor festivals that they will hope will attract some of the estimated $500 million in economic activity expected to flow into the local economy during the days leading up to next month's Super Bowl.

It didn't escape notice that Monday's weather — sunny, temperatures in the upper 40s — would be welcome for organizers if it decides to return on Feb. 2, the day of the game. But they vowed to go on no matter what happens.

"This would be ideal, but we're doing it no matter what," said Secaucus, N.J. Councilman Gary Jeffas, whose town is hosting Winter Blast, a festival starting a few days ahead of the Super Bowl week that will feature food, music and games along with a beer garden. The event is outdoors, but Jeffas said there will be plenty of heated tents and warming stations to accommodate revelers.

In East Rutherford home to MetLife Stadium, a similar event will be held on a downtown street and park in the hours before kickoff and is billed as Meadowlands Tailgate Party 2014.

Both towns have lined up sponsors to defray the costs of putting on the events: Goya Foods, Houlihan's, Coca-Cola, Heineken and others in Secaucus, while East Rutherford got commitments from sponsors including Dunkin' Donuts and Budweiser.

Jeffas said Secaucus officials expected sponsors to cover the cost of the event and that any profit from tickets — $10 per day, discounted for multiple-day purchases — would go to local nonprofits including Spectrum Works, a screen printing company that works with people diagnosed with autism.

East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella said he expected to break even with his town's one-day event, where admission will also be $10. He repeated a theme common to New Jerseyans who have watched TV ads focus on New York even though the game will be played west of the Hudson River.

"I always believed this was going to be a New York event, and that's understandable," he said. "But I haven't seen much about New Jersey at all, and the fact is, it's being played in New Jersey."

The Super Bowl will be the first played outdoors at a cold-weather location. About 400,000 people are expected to visit the New York-New Jersey area for the game. New York is holding the splashiest Super Bowl event, closing off part of Broadway near Times Square for a mammoth toboggan slide, merchandise shop and concert venue.

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