Brookside Community Club Thankful For Fab 4th
General Chairperson Cecelia Donato thanks the many involved in this year's Brookstock event in a letter to the editor.
On behalf of the officers of the 4th of July Parade Committee for the Brookside Community Club, I just have to say thanks to so many people for helping us put together a groovy celebration for our country’s birthday this year! As always, Evan “Buzzy” Thomas was wonderful as our parade Chairman. And just to give credit where it is due, it was Buzz’s idea to have the “Brookstock” theme, and to have commemorative shirts done – and you can still order one from him if you would like! But neither of us could function without Rosie Flood, our Treasurer. We always spend money we don’t have, since we operate totally on donations which come in after we spend the money to send out the mailing, so it’s up to Rosie to keep us in the black – and we’re still friends! How does she DO that?
We also thank all of the members of our community who responded so generously to our pleas for donations, including those who ante’d up during the post-parade concerts. We do this for you, and rely on you to realize how important this tradition is to our town – for (I believe) 89 years now, the Club has been able to present the parade funded almost entirely by your donations. So to all our donors, thank you. Without you, we could not continue to bring you "the Grandest Little Hometown Parade in America!"
You must know, however, that there are many people who worked very hard to make sure that the day was enjoyable for all, reverently observed, and planned so as to ensure a great day for everyone. First, I have to thank my daughter, Elisabeth Donato, for the great job she did designing the poster and the letter we sent out to all of you. I thought it was right on!
As to the parade, the line-up itself is handled by the members of the Knights of Columbus at St. Joseph Church. They have this effort down pat, and we appreciate their efforts, especially this year when it meant ensuring safety while we moved bands into the field to start concerts! And let’s not forget that the DPW here, led by Dave Read, sets up the grandstand, the games fields, and provides trailers and generators for floats and bands. And then they clean it all up! Speaking of trailers, we have to thank Mendham Borough DPW, Foerster Landscaping, Wicklow and Laurano Landscaping, and Cippollini Carting and Recycling, for providing trailers for our use. Keep them in mind!
While the Knights line up the parade and Irv McNair sets up the sound system, Norm and Hope Preston, with Ken and Chris Cameron, run the breakfast tent. They provide yummy treats for young and old, alike, and help us raise money to defray costs of the parade – which included T-Shirt sales this year! The parade kick-off was, as always, beautiful, as Father Mike Drury, chaplain for the area Fire Departments and the Township Police department and EMS, led the invocation. As the Girl Scouts from the Mendham area, who are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, formed Honor and Color Guards to raise our Nation's flag, Brookside's own Nadine Jacobson sang our National Anthem. And this year we had a special treat as Cooper Hartmann, who just graduated from Mendham High School, kicked off Brookstock with a wonderful guitar rendition of the National Anthem, a la Jimmy Hendrix.
During the parade, of course, the commentary provided by Buzz Thomas, John Mills, and Joe Arwady helps all our judges, including Laureen Jacobson and Megan Sager, their friends and family, keep the entries straight and makes their jobs easier! It was particularly enjoyed this year by our Grand Marshals, Gary and Marlene Russell, and by our Community Service Award winner, Christine Strobel. In all, there were eight towns represented in the parade, including the great bands recruited by Diane Dinklage! With a theme like “Brookstock”, you have to know how important Diane’s job was this year – with lots of additional musical talent came the need to negotiate additional contracts, and Diane handled this beautifully!
We also thank all the people who participated in the parade, such as the Township Committee members who walked the route and the members of the Borough Council who accompanied them. And I hope you noted the Yasgur farm entry – how wonderful to have the farm where Woodstock happened represented in our parade! Keep it in mind for next year – you could enter a float, too!
After the parade the Rotary once again offered lunch, organized by Janet C. Cook, while the kids enjoyed the Field Games organized by the Brewster family, the pony rides, and fire truck rides conducted by the Brookside Engine Company, a perennial treat. And this year, the Fire Department gets a special thank you for moving their beverage service to the Community Club field. What a great way to participate in the Community Club’s celebration and help us provide the wonderful concerts that followed the parade during the Rotary’s lunch! I think it made the day much more enjoyable for all, and look forward to Brookside Engine Company joining us again next year! And finally, we thank the O'Brien family, who brought a packed Community Club the annual Bingo games.
So, Peace, Love, and Brookside, everyone! If I missed anyone, sorry, but thank you! And thank you to our supporters, thank you to the participants, thank you to the donors, and thank you to the community for once again proving we have the "the Grandest Little Hometown Parade in America!"
Cecelia Donato, General Chairperson