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In 1975 Gillespie founded the New Jersey Folk Festival, an all-day, outdoor celebration of the folk arts, held the last Saturday in April on the grounds of the Eagleton Institute at Douglass College.  The focus is on the traditional indigenous music, crafts, and foods of the diverse ethnic and cultural communities of New Jersey and the surrounding region. The festival features four stages of live music and nearly one hundred craft vendors selling jewelry, pottery, leatherwork, paintings, wooden toys, and many other intriguing items.  Some twenty different food vendors offer everything from hamburgers to vegetarian fare and funnel cake.  Attracting 15,000 or more people every year, the award-winning festival is managed every year by a committee of twelve students who receive credit for their work. 

At home in central New Jersey, Gillespie has been active in community life, serving from 1977 to 1987 as a volunteer firefighter in the Millstone Valley Fire Department (MVFD) in Franklin Township, a community that was changing rapidly from rural to suburban.  The nature of emergency calls ranged from field fires and brush fires to those in office parks, requiring the cooperation of several companies. Gillespie’s basic training was at the Somerset County Fire Academy, followed by Fire Officer training at the State Fire College in Sea Girt.  In 1987, Gillespie served as President of the MVFD. 

Moving to New Brunswick in 1988, Gillespie became active in local politics.  In 1994, he was elected Committeeman for Ward 2 District 1 in New Brunswick, a neighborhood close to Douglass College.   This grass-roots experience in elective politics provided a nice balance to political theory learned in books.  In 1999, Mayor James Cahill appointed Gillespie to the New Brunswick Board of Education, where he served on the Finance Committee, taking an active role in the planning and construction of the Lord Sterling School on George Street. 

 

(C) 2004 Angus Kress Gillespie, all rights reserved. Site created and maintained by Steve Kinney