The first weekend in June was a busy one in all quarters of West Orange.
Three elementary schools on Saturday -- Gregory, Mt. Pleasant and Redwood schools -- celebrated the conclusion of the school year with annual carnivals put on by their PTAs. It was a time for students, siblings, parents, teachers and administrators to let loose and play games, activities, eat burgers and hot dogs, and reflect on the end of another school year.
And with the weather probably as close to perfect as it could get, students did not hesitate to wear their swimming trunks and enjoy the water activities.
Gregory Elementary School held its annual Strawberry Festival, where the most popular game seemed to be the dunk tank. Students lined up one after another to hit the mark and drop one of their classmates in the dunk tank.
Up the hill on the other side of the town, Mt. Pleasant Elementary School put on its Family Fun Day. More than 100 people brought blankets, laid out in the sun and played games all afternoon.
Across town, more than 200 people gathered at Redwood Elementary School where students had no lack of things to do with the multiple inflatable games there.
On Sunday, St. Joseph's Church was replete with hot food and full bellies as the West Orange African Heritage Organization put on its eighth annual Men Who Cook fundraiser.
More than a dozen men donning tall chef hats served a bevy of homemade food to hungry attendees. All the proceeds will go to the Thomas Holcomb Scholarship Fund.
The winners this year for best dish and best cake were Carl Bell and Warren Bailey, respectively. Bell served a Southern favorite, Hoppin' Johns, while Bailey baked his jammin' rum cake.
Are you looking for a new dish to serve tonight? Well Greg Bullock has you covered. At the event on Sunday, Bullock was commemorating Juneteenth -- when slaves in Texas were finally emancipated in 1865 -- with Texas favorites, such as jelly cake and Texas caviar.
Bullock handed out this recipe for Texas caviar, which is as follows.
• 3 16-ounce cans of black-eyed peas.
• 1/2 cup of minced yellow bell peppers.
• 1/2 cup of minced red bell peppers.
• 1/2 cup of minced scallions, including the green part.
• 1/2 cup of virgin olive oil.
• 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.
• 1 clove garlic, minced.
• 1 teaspoon dried cumin.
• 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno chili, or to taste (use minced habanero, if you dare for a little extra bite!).
1. Drain the black-eyed peas and place them in a non-reactive bowl.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to make sure that all the ingredients are mixed.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least five hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature.