Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Super Bowl Pregame Bash Blasts off in Secaucus

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Super Bowl Pregame Bash Blasts off in Secaucus

Article excerpt

SECAUCUS -- The ultimate cheese ball was disappointingly still a work in progress, but dozens of families on Thursday still enjoyed the first dose of Winter Blast, the town's pregame Super Bowl celebration.

The crowd at Buchmuller Park, though sparse, varied from proud state residents and fun-seeking families to diehard football fans still scraping for tickets to Sunday's Big Game at MetLife Stadium.

Police presence seemed at times to outnumber celebrants in the nippy 20-degree weather. But organizers said they expected that to change today and Saturday as temperatures soar into the 40s and travelers from around the country descend on the region.

"It's going to be packed," Mayor Michael Gonnelli said as he waited for a massive order of lobster from a food truck. "It's a great event -- we've got everything going."

Organizers had to overcome some hiccups in starting generators and supplying enough power for the beer garden, but otherwise things were running smoothly, Gonnelli said.

Some patrons were unhappy that the potentially record-breaking "Super Ball" of mozzarella cheese was not yet ready. But Gonnelli said the partnership of Toscana Cheese Co. and Spectrum Works, a non- profit employer of people with autism, is making progress on the 300- pound-plus dairy display and that it should be ready by 1 p.m. Saturday.

Christian Bernabe and Avinash Khanchandani, 14, football lovers since they were second-graders, were in a warming center, among the first in line for autographs from Giants tight end Bear Pascoe.

"We came for this," Avinash said before posing for a photo with Pascoe and an NFL trophy.

The two North Bergen High Tech High School students said they still had hopes their parents might buy them last-minute Super Bowl tickets on Saturday night, when prices may drop as low as $800. But even if they don't make it, they'll be watching closely to see whose prediction of the winner is right. …

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