STANHOPE, NJ --- Whoever said not to play in the streets certainly did not have the residents of Stanhope Borough in mind.
Stanhope celebrated their annual Family Fun Day today. The event took place at Musconetcong Park located by the playground and lake. Each year the event has a different theme. This year’s theme was “Southwestern".
Each organization of Stanhope had something free for the residents. The fire department served up birch beer in red plastic take home cups, as well as sliced up watermelon.The Chamber of Commerce handed out pamphlets. The Recreation Commission gave away straw hats with a bandana as the hatband, and the Committee’s logo pinned to it for the theme.
“It has become a tradition. It is an opportunity for residents to come out, fun for the kids, and a great way to mix with the neighborhood,” said Stanhope Mayor Rosemarie Maio who handed out hot dogs to the residents right next to a free Italian Ice truck.
The BGB Band performed cover songs from artists such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, Lynard Skynard and Cream.
Free raffle tickets were given to the adult residents. Winners received gift certificates to various local restaurants in the community.
It was a fun-filled day for the children of the community to participate in outdoor activities. A parked fire truck had a sprinkler coming out of the nozzle while children in their bathing suits ran, played and danced in the July Summer heat.
There were bean bag tosses, chances to knock down jug bottles with a tennis ball, and potato sack races where each child had to hop to the fence and back to the tree. Each winner won a little bag filled with toys.
The last activity was a piñata shaped like a cowboy boot. Each child stood patiently in line and was allowed three swings each. As soon as the piñata busted open, the children all ran to collect items in their brown paper bags they received beforehand.
The children immediately ran barefoot in the grass playing harmonious music with their new plastic whistles, kazoos and recorders.
“It is my first year here and today has been a great turn-around and it is free to the Stanhope residents,” said Maria Grizzetti, member of the Recreation Committee.
“This would not all come together if we didn’t have such a great committee,” said Marie Jozowski who put Family Fun Day into effect this year, “It is something that started before I was a member of the Recreation Commission. It started in 2004 and has grown a little bit. Last year the Hose Company started the watermelon and the band has played here for past seven years.”
“I’m here to show my support,” said Stanhope Chief of Police, Steve Pittigher. “It is a pure community event, I can meet people I work for, spend time with them and it’s not about business.”
The newest addition to Family Fun Day was Little Mr. and Miss Stanhope. Four contestants consisting of two boys and two girls were judged based on questions they were asked. One question was, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “Big,” is what one child responded back.
Ashley Herman, 4 and Scottie Percarpio, 5, were voted as the very first winners of Little Mr. and Miss Stanhope.
All contestants received gift bags while Herman and Percarpio received sashes with a tiara and crown to wear upon their heads and a $25 gift card each to Toys R Us.
“I’m not really a hat guy,” said Percarpio speaking of his crown.
Most importantly, insight from the Stanhope children who attended Family Fun Day:
“It’s fun and a lot of activities to play.” - Lindsay Schwartz, 11.
“It’s nice to be with your family.” - Emily Araujo, 11.
“There is free food!” - Amanda Araujo, 15.
“I like the games and being with my family.” - Faith Jenkins, 11.
Members of the Recreation Committee participated in helping with the children’s activities. High School students also volunteered as a part of their community service hours for graduation.