“It was an accident that we discovered JazzFeast,” Mr. Zaksas said. “We love it. Now that we know about it, we will come back on purpose. We are not regular listeners to jazz, but we are certainly enjoying it, especially in a setting like this.”
Mr. Zaksas and Ms. Wagman were among the hundreds of people who thronged Palmer Square to listen to jazz bands on a warm, sunny afternoon. The musicians took turns, playing on a stage set up on the lawn in front of the Nassau Inn.
“I like jazz. I like Herbie Hancock. I have been listening to a lot of his music. My wife likes jazz somewhat, but probably not as much as me,” Mr. Eby said.
Ms. Eby does, however, enjoy food.
“There are a bunch of good food stands. I love food. I like Indian food and I like seafood. I had some paella, and I am still hungry,” she said with a laugh.
There was certainly no lack of food. Vendors offered everything from seafood, Indian, Chinese, crepes and pizza to Caribbean food and soul food — jerk chicken, jerk pork, curry chicken, curry goat, ox tails, rice and beans, collard greens, corn bread and candied yams.
For the less adventurous whose palates favored more traditional fare, good old-fashioned hot dogs and hamburgers could be found at some booths. Pork roll was also available, as well as popcorn, funnel cake and corn dogs.
Tables and chairs were set up along the perimeter of Palmer Square West and on the west side of Tiger Park — the small grassy island at the top of Palmer Square at Nassau Street. One group of visitors brought along a folding table that they set up in the middle of Tiger Park, to accommodate the assortment of food they purchased from the vendors.
Meanwhile, most of the tables along Palmer Square West were filled by visitors who were happily munching away. For those who could not find a table, there were plenty of places on the curb to sit down and eat — and that’s what many folks did.
While food was the draw for many visitors, there were just as many for whom jazz was the main attraction.
“We like jazz,” said Tom Griggs, who was sitting on a collapsible camping chair.
“It’s a beautiful day, and we both like jazz,” agreed Glenda Griggs. “We came for the music, not the food. (Palmer Square) is always a nice venue. There is a mix of performers. It’s a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.”
The Hightstown residents have been attending JazzFeast for at least 10 years — long enough, as Ms. Griggs said, “to know enough to bring chairs.”