WAYNE, NJ — At 5:37 a.m. on Saturday morning, winter ended and the spring of 2021 officially began. Mother nature blessed Wayne Township with a relatively balmy 56-degree, blue-sky day; a perfect day to hold Wayne’s first annual Easter Carnival event.

The Wayne Parks and Recreation Department has been holding an annual Easter Egg Hunt event each year, but Director Tim Roetman was excited to try something different for this event.

“We’ve been doing the Easter egg hunt for more years than I can count, but this is the first time we’re doing the Easter Carnival,” said Roetman. “The hunt was always fun, but it was a bit chaotic and ended too quickly. This is a little more controlled, and people seem to be able to go about at their leisure, play the games, spend some time and celebrate. It’s like a day’s adventure as opposed to a five-minute in-and-out.”

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“The turnout is fantastic,” he added. “And, it's really exciting to see people getting out for the first time this year and enjoying the beautiful weather.”

Warm sunshine beamed down upon the Alps Road Fields where a dozen or so large tents were set up. Each tent was sponsored by a local business or organization, such as Everbrook Academy and the Boys & Girls Club. Carnival games were set up in the tents for the kids to play and win prizes.

As with most town events, Bach to Rock Music School was there keeping the day lively and fun with music flowing over the scene.

There were only a few reminders of the fact that a global pandemic was still in full swing. The tents were spaced far apart to help stop too much congregating, everyone in attendance all wore masks and guests were scheduled to come in staggered shifts in order to keep the crowds low at any given time.

Otherwise, children played, laughed and ran around the enclosed area, unleashed; uncaged, free from the bounds of frigid temperatures.

Seven-year-old Sophia Brady was asked if she knew what was significant about the day.

“Today is the first day of Spring!” she said happily.

She was asked what she liked about the spring. “I like the flowers and the animals,” she replied. 

Her younger sister Maya spoke up. “I’m excited because I really want to wear a tank top or a t-shirt outside.”

Did the girls like this past winter?

“I really like the snow, but other than that I hated it,” answered Maya. “I hate the cold.”

This was not the consensus for the children that TAPinto interviewed. For the most part, they said they enjoyed winter, especially playing in the snow. For parents, the answers were different.

“This past winter was a struggle,” answered Allison Abate, who was attending the carnival with her children. “I’m a nurse so, I’m still dealing with it. It’s been tough.”

“Winter was challenging,” said Michele Alfieri was there with her son Victor. “But it was fun for the kids, because we had a lot of snow. We went sleigh riding, which was fun, and it was nice to break up the monotony of just staying home all the time.”

“I’m glad it’s over,” said Keith Heyman, the Vice President of the Wayne PAL.  He was there, manning the PAL carnival tent, enjoying the excitement that seemed to emanate from the children all around.

Spring holds the promise of continued warmer weather, getting outside, sunshine, baseball and other spring sports. The grass will soon green, the trees will begin to sprout buds, flowers will bloom, but that didn’t happen today.

Today was more of a celebration that winter had finally ended.