SPARTA, NJ – Sparta Middle School was humming with activity on Saturday afternoon.  The annual Sparta Recreation Winter Festival was a success according to Sparta Mayor Gil Gibbs. 

“We have more than 500 people here today,” Gibbs said.  After years of an outdoor festival, subject to the whim of the weather, the event was moved indoors a few years ago.  Since the move, “it has gotten bigger each year," according to Gibbs.

New this year the families enjoyed a Gaga Pit Game, magician Joe Fischer, yoga with Heather Bivona, dance performances from from Lenahan School of Celtic Dance and Dance Dimensions by Michelle and other demonstrations.

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The Sparta Historical Society demonstrated old farm equipment.  Charlene Beebe was on hand from Sparta Athletic Club with balance balls and boards.  Integrity Dental provided a spin art station.  Cub Scout Troop 150 had a bean bag toss and Boy Scout Troop 95 demonstrated camping skills and publicized an Eagle Scout project.

Skyland Ice World once again got kids running around with broom ball on the day of the event and discount family skate sessions on Sunday.

Sparta High School students Jessica Esso, Carolyn Jacobs and Bailey Plotts also ran a photo booth.

Children had carnival type games, sand art, temporary tatoos and broom hockey.  The face painting tables had long lines throughout the day. 

“The bounce house,” was the overwhelming favorite of the young participants including Peighton, Nahleah and Liam. 

Ashley, however, said tattoos were her favorite.

Sparta Middle School Builders Club students volunteered, as they usually do with Recreation Department special events.  Students that gave their time include:

  • Matt Bouma-Hannam
  • Liv D'Agati
  • Paige DeGiovanni
  • Daniel Devine
  • Tina Fitzlaff
  • Mikayla Flanz
  • JT Hallack
  • Rachel Leitner
  • Maelee Moriarity
  • Emma Muth
  • Charlotte Outnam
  • Jake Ryan
  • Elyse Sears
  • Emma Sears
  • Zoe Squashic
  • Kaleigh West

The price of admission was donation to the Sparta Ecumenical Food Pantry.  Nearly a dozen boxes were filled with food by the end of the day.