Asbury Park lived up to its fame as a rock and roll town Saturday evening when Mayor Ed Johnson took the stage with Southside

Mayor Johnson with Southside Johnny

 Johnny during the 8th Annual Mayor’s Ball, a fundraising gala for city students held in the Grand Arcade.

“Singing with such a legend was definitely the highlight of the evening for me despite me being not able to carry a note,” said Mayor Johnson, laughing.  “The heart of this community showed Saturday night.   I am so heartened by all the enthusiasm from the guests, business community in town and of course, Southside Johnny.”

More than 500 formally attired city officials, community members, business owners and Asbury Park supporters sipped cocktails while watching the sunset, eventually moving inside the Grand Arcade to dine, dance to the Mayor’s Players and Soul Finger Live and celebrate this year’s honorees.

Chic Perrotto of Mr. C’s Bistro received the Business Partnership Award for his support of the Asbury Park High School Bishops Football Team.  Debbie DeLisa and Lance Larson of The Wonder Bar received the Kevin G. Sanders Community Service Award for their dedication to creating a business that serves and honors the community.  Reverend Gerald Bailey of Allen Chapel AME received the Michael Brim Humanitarian award for his work with philanthropic organizations throughout Asbury Park.

“I have been every year and this ball was the biggest and most exciting yet,” said Fred Raffetto, city attorney, Ansell Grimm & Aaron, which has funded scholarships for city students for the past eight years.

Recipients of scholarships this year were Johnny Laine, a third-year Rutgers University student studying Public Policy with a double minor in Africanna Studies and Human Resources; William Jones a Wilkes University student studying criminal justice to make a difference in the community; Asia Wilson a junior at Georgian Court University studying Business Administration to eventually open a business of her own.

“Our goal was to be able to expand our scholarship program, create an internship program and support recreation projects in the coming year,” said Mayor Johnson.  “I am confident that once the counting is done, the Mayor’s Ball Foundation will be able to accomplish all of those goals.”