As General Chairperson of the Brookside Community Club 4th of July Parade, co-sponsored by Mendham Township, I have the privilege of letting you know about this year's parade, and tell you about some special additions to our activities and the continuation of our Post-Parade Concert, this year featuring the B-Street Band! Of course, it will still be the "Grandest Little Hometown Parade in America" but we are finding new ways to go green and get people involved, including launching our website at rather than doing the huge mailing (although ALL donors will receive this year's poster), and a float design contest which is currently in progress at the elementary and middle schools.
Our theme this year is "Brookside is . . . JERSEY STRONG!" We plan to have the traditional start, with breakfast served up by Norm and Hope Preston and their crew. The Boy and Girl Scouts will be providing us with representatives to form our Color Guard and raise the flag, and Nadine Jacobson will again sing the National Anthem before Fr. Mike Drury leads the invocation.
Then the parade will start with the introduction of our Grand Marshal, AnneMarie Hornyak. Hornyak has taught at the elementary school for 39 years - my own daughter, Elisabeth, had her for second grade. She is retiring this year from the elementary school, although she will continue to be active in the community and to teach college mathematics, while also devoting more time to family.
Then our Community Service Award Winners come in - the Junior Firefighters from the Brookside and Ralston Firehouses who basically lived with victims of Hurricane Sandy at the Emergency Service Building and did everything they could to help the town and its residents get through that disaster. These high school students have proved they are fine young men and wonderful members of our community.
This year, for the first time, the Committee is running a float design contest at the elementary and middle schools. The rules are simple - design a float in keeping with the theme for this year's parade that can be constructed in 6 hours. The designs are amazing, and voting will take place Monday, June 17, at the Community Club. This is also a fund raiser, so votes are a dollar; the whole town is invited for light refreshments to vote from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Club. The winners from each school will be announced once votes are tallied, at around 7:30 p.m. Hey! Parents and members of the community! Volunteer to build the floats for the winning classes, and to have the members of the class accompany the floats in the parade! You'll be glad you did!
Speaking of fund raising, the Committee once again finds itself in deficit financing. This is nothing new, as we raise money each year prior to the parade to pay for its costs, but it really has gotten harder to generate the income from donations we need to continue to run the parade and other aspects of the celebration. No one wants to think that a parade that has been going strong for 90 years is not going to make it to 91, but it is something we have to face. The Committee needs to know - does the community want to see this tradition continue? Can you give us the financial support we need to keep the parade going for another year?
One question I am usually asked is where the money goes. Well, it rents the breakfast tent, pays for the doughnuts and coffee, purchases Bingo prizes, and hires bands. And if there is one thing I know, Mendham loves music! So we like to have as many bands as possible, and will do so this year, too. Even if it's the last time we can do so.
We'll have many favorite bands returning to show us all how New Jersey's strength is also reflected in music the whole nation enjoys, including the B-Street Band! The B-Street Band is a popular band covering music of many artists, including Bruce Springsteen, and they will not only perform in the parade, but provide parade goers with a fantastic concert after the parade, from 11 to 12:30! And we hope everyone will come and enjoy their show while the kids are working to win the games put on by Darryl Brewster and his family, the kids are enjoying pony rides and the moon bounce and the dunking booth, and everyone is sampling the lunch items available from the Mendham Rotary and beverages from Brookside Engine Co. No. 1.
So come on over to Brookside for the 4th of July! Enjoy breakfast with your neighbors, watch the parade from Main Street seating, and plan to stay for lunch and a concert! Then, after an afternoon with friends, come on back for Bingo! I have to admit - the crowd at Bingo never ceases to amaze me. Who would have thought this would still be a standing room only affair? Thank you, O'Brien family, for doing this for us one last time.
And thank you, citizens of Mendham Township and friends of the parade, for supporting us in producing the "Grandest little hometown parade in America!" See you on the 4th!
Cecelia A. Donato
Brookside Community Club
4th of July Parade Committee
48 Ironia Road
Mendham, NJ 07945