Last Saturday’s Deep Freeze Fest at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences drew dozens of the organization’s supporters to enjoy the hygge – a warm buzz of camaraderie, coffee and craft beer, a trio of fire pits and the danceable grooves of a live funk-pop band.
Pinelands Brewing Co. brought the beer, Coffee BouTEAque offered complimentary caffeine, Funk Shway and the Dojo Birds provided the music, and the guests themselves contributed the hugs, conversation, laughter and photo booth memories. Concurrently the Swing Graphics team was celebrating the release of Issue 7 of Breaker, and many came specifically to get their copy hot off the press, while still more were there to peruse the works hanging in the “Wild_Life” photography exhibit around the Main Gallery. (The opening reception and community potluck in honor of that show are Friday, Feb. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m.)
Executive Director Daniella Kerner described the event as “outstanding.” Though no fundraising total was made available by press time on Tuesday, Kerner said the true measure of the event’s success was the contagious spirit of enthusiasm, joy and community in the room. Marketing and Special Events Coordinator Lydia Owens added, “It was definitely our most successful Deep Freeze to date, with attendance somewhere between 150 and 200 people over the course of the evening.
“What was especially wonderful to see was the wide range of ages, from adorable tiny tots to 20-somethings, families and seniors, all having a good time together, rocking to the music.” Many had traveled from North Jersey for the occasion, she continued.
Meanwhile, off to one side of the gallery was a heaping pile of donations of non-perishables guests had brought for the local Coast Guard families affected by the partial government shutdown.
If there is a singular “takeaway” from a party such as the Deep Freeze, Kerner said it’s that the community on and around LBI is just so special.
“I hope the Foundation will be seen as a central organization that brings people together and adds value to their lives,” she said. “Membership dollars to the LBIF enable programs like the Deep Freeze, Science Saturdays, FRED talks, art exhibitions, film screenings and so much more. But, more important, membership to the Foundation keeps our doors open during the winter months and allows us to offer exciting programming to our local community year ’round.”