Downtown New Jersey Placemaking Award to SOVCA, Holiday Open Air Market, The Fox and Falcon Restaurants

in 2020 helping small businesses survive and thrive has been a challenge during this Coronavirus Pandemic. Here in South Orange, the South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA) went into action supporting small businesses by hosting a Summer Long Outdoor Live Music Series titled Summer Saturdays Live Music and also hosted a wonderful beautiful and now award winning Holiday Open-Air Market .

South Orange Holiday Open-Air Holiday Market

Considering SOVCA always has many other initiatives in pipeline pulling off the Holiday Open-Air Market was a major undertaking. This project included setting up a fully functional temporary outdoor retail marketplace, power heat and all. Products and services offered were finely crafted jewelry, apparel, accessories, art and gift items made by many of the area’s finest local artisans and craftspeople. The market was held in the South Orange NJ Sloan Street Parking Lot and had to be set up every week and emptied every Thursday before setting up the market again . This occurred for 7 consecutive weeks.

Under the guidance and direction of the SOVCA Leadership – Exec Dir. Julie Doran and Ops Mgr Melissa Hodge , they pulled it all together The Open-Air market was located between some wonderful restaurants and also offered up some lovely live music entertainment. The South Orange Holiday Open Air Market was enjoyed tremendously by local folks and visitors from all over. Positive comments came in from all over and every night from numerous participants.

Well happy to see that the SOVCA hard work paid off and they are now the recipients of the Downtown New Jersey Placemaking Award for taking innovative steps for keeping our town surviving and thriving. The awards were presented at a virtual ceremony during the New Jersey Downtown Conference.

DNJ’s Executive Director, Courtenay Mercer said. “Since we could not do a larger program this year, we wanted to recognize excellent placemaking projects and initiatives helping small business cope with the economic strain of COVID-19.” Joining Downtown New Jersey in recognizing excellence in placemaking was AARP New Jersey, who sponsored the event because these community efforts align with their own Livable Communities initiative.

Forget The Whale at The Fox and Falcon Restaurant

Forget The Whale performs at Holiday Market t The Fox and Falcon Restaurant

Additionally the article states “The Fox and Falcon was recognized with an Early Action/Merchant award for creating an attractive and engaging outdoor space that spurred more restaurants to follow and the area became known as Restaurant Row.”

Anybody who was around knows David Massoni, the owner of The Fox and Falcon as David was everywhere working and conversing with customers and staff. He design a wonderful outdoor space, with beautiful settings, fireplace tables, rocking chairs, heaters, live music lights, very happy customers and my favorite Alex and her Hot Toddies.

Live Music – Gregory Burrus Productions

Harmonic Convergence Alex Desivires The Fox and Falcon South Orange NJ from Gregory Burrus on Vimeo.

Alex Desivires @alleycatsax

Of course Gregory Burrus Productions. was happy to provide live music experience through out the summer, fall and the Holiday Open-Air Market which ran all the way to Christmas Eve. As long as the weather cooperated then we were outdoors live with multiple live music bands every weekend.

When they say it takes a village well my live music village consisted of my folks out volunteering in full support with Chelsea Burrus on site handling cameras, video and social media, Greg R Burrus handling the home studio live stream capabilities. The audience was in full support. Audience members donated profusely to the live music bands, help lay wires when power disappeared, help open and close our temporary parking lot, run lights and so much more. In addition we had full support of a photography crew taking pictures and creating history along with drone videos also. I want to thank each and everyone of them that came out every week.

South Orange Village Center Alliance Making It Happen.

.As Executive Director Julie Doran stated “Its always nice to have our efforts recognized and this year even more so”. Also as I like to say it takes a village, well once again its so true as Julie Doran stated “We’re very grateful for support from our many small businesses, the South Orange Parking Authority, Main Street New Jersey and Gregory Burrus Productions.

Outdoor shopping, dining and live music events have become the norm for all of us this year and with good weather, some serious social distancing, masks and an audience that adheres to health guidelines, we will continue on under their excellent leadership.

DOWNTOWN NEW JERSEY – DNJ is a non-profit membership organization of individuals, businesses, developers, government agencies, and local and regional entities that are passionate about downtowns. Downtowns reflect our communities’ unique identities, provide a focal point, a convenient local place of commerce, and offer a sense of place where people can gather and truly be a community. DNJ provides advocacy, education, and technical assistance resources dedicated to ensuring the vitality of our downtowns. For more information, visit

The South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA) is the not-for-profit management entity of our village’s Special Improvement District. Founded in 1991 as Main Street South Orange, the organization is run by an Executive Director and a volunteer board of directors made up of property owners, business owners, residents and other stakeholders. We are not a part of the South Orange Village government but work closely with elected officials and Village staff as a separate 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Gregory Burrus Productions is a local live music ambassador, event developer and community partner that develops manages, promotes and documents local community events in the Greater New Jersey and New York Area. Originally from New York City, Gregory has been a New Jersey Resident for the past 30 years, books bands. produces, promotes, captures and records live music events.

The Fox & Falcon Restaurant – Located in the heart of downtown South Orange, you’ll find The Fox & Falcon, a culinary destination for the emerging food scene of Essex County, in which renowned restauranteur David Massoni has found a home. Embodying the diversity and uniqueness of SOMA (South Orange/Maplewood), The Fox & Falcon delivers to all guests a warm and inviting environment in which to gather and with passionate, caring individuals at the helm.

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