This week Newark Celebration 350 and The Horizon Foundation of NJ, one of NC 350’s signature partners, hosted an early kick off birthday party like no other complete with 16-foot tall banners, birthday cards and some exciting announcements!

Junius Williams, NC 350 Chair/Director of the Abbott Leadership Institute, and Robert A. Marino, Chairman, CEO and President, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, hosted the event that gathered hundreds of Newarkers including Horizon NJ employees, Newark leaders, Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, Council representatives Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins and Augusto Amador, Newark Deputy Mayor Jacqueline Quiles, President of Newark City Council Mildred Crump, NC 350 programming committee, staff and media. The crowd cheered as Marino dropped the curtains to reveal Horizon’s enormous NC 350 banners, which will be prominently displayed in the company’s lobby throughout the year. Marino also shared what Newark’s 350h birthday means to him as a Newarker and announced Horizon’s official partnership with us!

junius williams, horizon foundation

Williams announced some of the upcoming new programs added to NC 350’s calendar including:

Newarkpoems, an online poetry year-long web project dedicated to the 350th anniversary of Newark’s founding where new poems about Newark will be posted per week on;

Church Choir Gospel Festival at Newark Symphony Hall, an all-day presentation of gospel music featuring the choirs at Newark churches; and

Brick City Bicycle Collective, a cycling tour of Newark through all wards to highlight the history, landmarks and culture.

Williams also unveiled two NC 350 birthday cards made by Newark grade school students, an initiative part of the Newark Celebration 350 curriculum program with Newark Public Schools to teach kids about our city’s rich history and culture. In the coming weeks, Horizon will be exhibiting many of these wonderful cards in their building’s glass front display for the public to enjoy. Look out on our website in the coming weeks as we’ll be showcasing the cards online.

And more exciting news: NC 350 programming chair/NJPAC President and CEO, John Schreiber announced the NC 350 Founders Week Festival, a two and a half day event (May 13-15) of arts, entertainment, culture and community that celebrates the 350th anniversary of our founding. More news about this exciting festival and other events to come!