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City of Lambertville to Address Concerns Over Recent ‘Dawn’ Dinner at Special Public Session

Dinner with Dawn Aug. 13. (Photo: Steve Chernosky)

The City of Lambertville on Aug. 30 will host an open question-and-answer session at a public meeting to discuss community concerns stemming from a “town-wide” dinner held Aug. 13 by Proctor & Gamble’s (P&G) Dawn dish soap division as a backdrop for an upcoming TV ad.

Lambertville residents had been invited by P&G to a free spaghetti dinner served at a 2,000-foot picnic table that stretched six blocks along North Union Street. Spots filled quickly, with many taking advantage of what they viewed as a fun community event and participation in the filming of a television commercial.

P&G designed the messy three-course meal to show in an ad how a single bottle of Dawn could clean thousands of dishes.

Some derided the event for health and environmental issues they said are associated with the chemical components of the fragrant, brightly-colored dish cleaning compound, and others underscored the unmet food needs of area disadvantaged, negative perceived impact on local commerce, and annoyance to residents in the immediate event staging area.

Lambertville leaders had hoped that allowing the town to be used as an advertising set would enhance the local economy.

“The city received national attention that will be a boost to local tourism,” reads a statement on Lambertville’s website. “We realize residents, especially those who live in the downtown, were inconvenienced so we could bring off this unique event and truly appreciate everyone’s cooperation. We apologize for the initial incorrect posting of the street closures and any confusion that may have caused.”

But the rumor mill took a decidedly conspiratorial tone this week, with some suggesting that Lambertville Mayor David DelVecchio had arranged the dinner directly, without consulting city officials or business leaders.

It wasn’t as if sharing the planning didn’t dawn on DelVecchio, said sources with knowledge of the event. The mayor received the offer from P&G in an email he initially thought was a hoax, but then decided to jump on the opportunity because it represented large-scale, low-cost publicity for the city. Fellow city leaders were quickly looped in.

“He didn’t benefit personally in any way,” said one city official.

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Those with knowledge of the planning process also pointed to additional benefits that accrued to Lambertville, including expenditures by P&G staff at hotels and restaurants, and company reimbursements for overtime police and public works employee hours and lost meter revenue on North Union Street. P&G also donated a laptop to Fisherman’s Mark, they say, and will supply the community pantry with an ample supply of their legendary kitchen cleaning aid.

A city official also emphasized that DelVecchio on Aug. 15 publicly “committed to never having an event in a residential area again.”

The special Dawn “Q&A” session takes place on Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Phillip L. Pittore Justice Center, 25 S. Union St.

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About the author

Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein


  • My only complaint is a petty one: I got a postcard in the mail for this event, immediately & successfully registered online, received an acknowledgement e-mail, and then never heard another word. I imagine they reached their quota for attendees, but it was disappointing. Either that or they figured out that we use Ivory Liquid at our house (As a product, Dawn kind of sucks).

  • We live in what was the staging areas. We were kept up half of the night for two nights while Dawn was doing construction. Saturday night they were out there almost all night. Really not acceptable to expect some of the residents to get a few hours sleep 2 nights in a row!

  • I agree with those who’ve stated the obvious…you made the choice to live in a tourist town. Dawn was just another tourist. And I Gerard Dawn was quite a hostess!

  • I guess no one in Lambertville
    Pays attention to the real crisis of the world….you should all be ashamed of yoyrselves…..remember what just happened in Barcelona!
    Or much closer to home early July! All you complainers move on. The world has no place for your self entitlement and your selfish way of thinking!
    What is wrong with people!??

  • My family own’s a restaurant on north union I agree as well people are being ridiculous we had a great day at the event Dawn was great we weren’t to inconvenienced .The mayor and his wife let us know all the details yes there was a mistake on times the road was closed but in sceam of things It was a great day ! It’s notoriety for the town in a good way ! It was very cool and we had a great day for business! People should stop being so negative all the time it’s over n done with we all lived the prices of there homes will probably go up because Lambertville will be that much more disirable and more people will visit when they see the commercial which will bring more business! Plus we got to converse with locals which was nice outside of our business ! The only thing I think should of been different was the picnic tables should of been placed along the riverbank Sutorus can sit and eat there if they’d like there’s nowhere to sit down by the river bank that would’ve been nice idea instead they placed them all in the school parking lot and let everyone just take the picnic tables which is nice too but I wpnder how many complainers took free picinic tanked home bet u they all did! Things can’t always stay the same it’s boring cudos to the mayor n his wife for loving Lambertville enough to try an make it better With a free national commercial

  • First of all, when you all moved to New Hope you knew you were moving to a tourist town. Now you have events with tourists and complain. Move to the middle of nowhere if you don’t like it! I love people who move somewhere and then complain about it. Monica: Send me your address. I would love to be the first to send to your coloring book collection drive! 🙂

  • I turned on to Bridge St toward the bridge enroute back to New Hope as the event was about to begin. There was no traffic jam, I saw an orderly and long queue of people lining the sidewalk. Weather was perfect, lots of smiling faces. Community events of all types are what makes our 2 towns beautiful. Some will botch but I know some who were there and it was a special occasion.

  • First of all none of you commenting live here. You don’t know how small our town is and how limited parking is. Also you were not at the event. The food was inedible and it was complete chaos. Traffic was so bad due to street closures that there were several accidents and the ambulance could not even get to the victims. The streets were closed for an entire BUSY weekend. Unless you were there and know first hand what really went on then you need to keep your unwanted and unwarranted comments to yourself.

    • No I am not a resident. I own a business in New Hope. I know all about inconveniences for events. I also know first hand how residents on both sides of river think about themselves and their towns.

    • Where were you? It was not complete chaos..the food was not inedible..and I never once heard or saw the ambulance leaving…yes I agree parking is tough but no different then shad fest..or Halloween…or the food trucks…or fireworks…or any normal weekend in the summer…get over it!!

    • Where to start with this ridiculous post?
      1. I would bet good money that ALL the posters here “live here”. With all due respect to NHFP, I don’t think we have many national followers of this story
      2. If you’re looking for high cuisine at a free massive dinner publicity stunt…well that’s just sad on many levels.
      3. I drove thru LVille home to NH during the event…no problem
      4. I’m calling b*llsh*it on the “several accidents” and ambulance claims. There were so many cops managing the traffic…an ambulance probably would have arrived at the (supposed) victim FASTER.
      5. The streets were NOT closed for “an entire weekend”. C’mon, man!
      6. I cant wait to see your whining dbag post at next year’s Shadfest
      7. Get over yourself. Find a hobby. Lighten up!

    • i live here and have a business here my street was closed there were no problems.

      in fact the majority of the people at the dinner live here because when it was over there was ZERO traffic because everyone WALKED.

      there is more traffic in town on any given day on bridge street at 5:30, and WAY more on sunny spring or summer days.

      the logistics of the event were handled great it went smoothly then was over and everything was cleaned up.

      there were no accidents where ambulances couldnt get through so stop making things up just to be negative.

    • To “I Know First Hand” . . .to know the food was inedible and the event was chaotic you had to have responded to the Dawn mail invitation and made a reservation for a place at the table. You showed up for the free meal and now you’re complaining. Final note, I’m commenting here AND I live here.

  • I wanna go and bring popcorn. It’ll be like a play in the park. Oh, the DRAMA!
    Clearly, there are some people in the lovely town of Lambertville that have no real problems in the world! They are forced to create ones out basically thin air. Weeks after the event has passed, they still need to gather to have their frivolous grievances heard?!? And the town is entertaining them?? That’s white privilege, fueled by narcissists, and managed by cowards who can’t tell these whiners to go home and find a real cause to get behind.

  • Wow…I live in New Hope and heard only how fun people thought this Dawn event was going to be…by 2 of the comments I see here it appears something went wrong. I haven’t been involved in any of this but thought it sounded like a great opportunity for the town. Is it possible the ones who are complaining are the ones that complain about everything regardless of outcome?

    • First world problems. Maybe I will run a crayon and coloring book collection drive. I will donate them all to residents of Lambertville so they can deal with their feelings in a safe time out.

  • I don’t live in Lambertville, but visit occasionally. I agree w/the first comment about how ridiculous this seems to me! Dawn secured permission to do the event/fed a bunch of ppl -6 blocks of tables!/cleaned up the entire mess!?! What the heck do you people have to complain about? Inconvenience? Grow up – inconvenience is a part of the daily life of every.single.person! Bwah wah wah – that’s exactly how you that are complaining sound to me. You should be thanking Dawn for the free dinner. If you didn’t want to attend & were “inconvenienced” – get a life. Perhaps you could use your voices in support or opposition of something worth getting all worked up about!!! How about world hunger, global warming, irreversible climate change, ANYTHING that is a really impacting the Country! Your inconvenience complaints speak volumes on how narcissistic you people really are! Think about how you can make the lives of people in your community better – it might just take your mind off your petty issues for just a moment!! SMFH -SHAME ON ALL OF YOU WHO BELIEVE THE WORLD REVOLVES ONLY AROUND “YOU”!!!!!!!! Do you need me to post links to legitimate charitable causes? Life is so short – get over yourselves already!🌳🍁🌺🌻🐿🌦🍑⚖️

    • Sorry guys – Maggie didn’t take her meds again. She’s in time out. Sorry for the inconvenience

  • I have never seen so many spoiled, ungrateful, entitled individuals ever! The complaints on Facebook were ridiculous and sad. One day out of your entire life to be spotlighted in a NATIONAL commercial. ONE DAY of inconvenience, ONE DAY. Get over yourselves.

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