By: Caitlin Doran
The sun was shining on our comfortable 72-degree Block Party Day, and whether you were a sponsor, a vendor, a volunteer, or an attendee, it was hard not to smile as we came together for a wonderful lakeside afternoon. All those we’ve talked to have given the event two emphatic thumbs up. Here’s what a cross-section of Block Partyers had to say about our big October 2 day:
“The Lake Hopatcong Block Party was a great event with lots of activities, entertainment, and food that brought lots of traffic throughout the block party and ultimately to my booth where I had a lot of great conversations with potential future clients for my business. Will do again next year!” – Joe Egan, Missile Silo Studios, Sponsor/Vendor
“I was having second thoughts about getting up at 6 am. As a first-time volunteer, I was asking myself, what am I in for? Can I just say, I met the nicest people! I had a really fun time and felt good doing something good for the lake.” – Denise Keller, Volunteer
“My family and I really enjoyed the Block Party. We even won a family membership to Frogs Falls Water Park for participating in the Passport Adventure Program! This is a great community event, and we will definitely be back next year. Many thanks to the Lake Hopatcong Foundation for putting this together.” -Wade Petersen, Attendee (and Passport Adventure Prize Winner!)
Testimonials like these are exactly why we organize an annual Lake Hopatcong Block Party. But it simply can’t be done without a tremendous amount of help and community support. Cue, first, our Block Party leadership team of Lee Moreau, Beth BaRoss, Barbara Kraus, and Judy Caruso, who prioritized our first-ever autumn Block Party around a busy summer of work obligations, precious family time, and other volunteer commitments. THANK YOU, Team! You amplify the work of our small organization and show us “it can be done” when you’re doing it “for the lake”!
Also at the top of our list is our ensemble cast of volunteers, lead by our Volunteers-in-Charge, who expertly and professionally set up the park, loaded in, parked, and helped set more than 150 vendors, monitored zones, organized our Passport Adventure and Scavenger Hunts, managed our giveaways, sold thousands of raffle tickets, and made a great day for more than 2,000 people. This was an all-hands-on-deck event and we needed every single helper, some from sunup to sundown. Thank you, thank you, volunteers – old and new!
In the volunteer mix was some essential help from The Roxbury Police Department, working the busy Lakeside Boulevard; the Hopatcong Police Department and Sussex County Explorers, working the Hopatcong Senior Center and Hilltop Sports Complex; the Morris County Sherriff Office Explorers, working crowd control in the State Park; the New Jersey State Park Police, working the Hopatcong State Park complex; New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau; and S.P.A. Safety Systems. All helped us to keep things organized and safe!
We’d also like to head to the top of the hill and give a great, big shoutout to the staff at Hopatcong State Park and from the NJ Division of Parks and Forestry, who rolled up their sleeves and were right in the mix with us in the wee hours that morning, helping to set up and prepare for a busy day. We’re so grateful for their dedication to this event and consider them a true partner in all that we do from the State Park!
And let’s not forget the folks that brought the masses to the party! Shuttles were provided by the Township of Roxbury, Hopatcong, Jefferson, and Mount Arlington. They continue to help us open up access to more and more attendees to the event, who were able to park at the Hopatcong Senior Center, the Wayne Threlkeld Athletic Fields, Orben Drive, the Landing Park Recreation Complex, the LHF Environmental & Cultural Center, the Landing Shopping Center, and Full Life Assembly of God Church, because of great partnerships.
Worth repeating over and over, along with the list of fine folks above, is the unflagging support of our 5 star sponsor, Live the Lake NJ, and Camp Six Property Management, who brought in financial and logistical help that truly made all the difference to this event. Live the Lake NJ, along with our other sponsors are committed to making this community “the best it can be,” to borrow a phrase from our executive director, Kyle Richter, and we are grateful that they are willing to invest in this event and our lake community.
Speaking of sponsor support, we want to give a shout-out to all of our Block Party sponsors supporting this community event. A big thank you to: Live the Lake NJ, Jefferson Recycling, Blue Diamond Disposal, Franklin Mutual Insurance, Fulton Bank, Solitude Lake Management, Animal Care Centers, League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, Staples, Dunkin Donuts, Culligan Water, Fitness Knocking, Fox Architectural Design, Frog Falls Water Park - Picatinny MWR, The Home Depot, John Johnson Automotive Group, the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum, Minutemen Limousine & Car Service, Missile Silo, Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph, Power Home Remodeling Group, Quesurance, QuickChek, Roxbury Clean Communities, Lawrence and Camille Rubinstein, SPA Safety Systems, U Stor It of Jefferson, Valley Pharmacy, Bernd E. Hefele, Hopatcong Lake Regional News, Lake Hopatcong News, North Jersey Advertising LLC., Roxbury Register, TAPintoRoxbury, and True Productions Digital Signage.
To wrap things up, every year we order t-shirts for volunteers to wear at the Block Party. They have the Block Party brand on the front and the word volunteer written in big, block letters. But this year, Lee Moreau added, “for the lake” to the back, across the shoulders. We teased him about it at first, but in the days before, during, and after, it’s become a mantra. Whether it’s the Block Party, maintaining trails, leading paddles, riding in the Lake Loop, partnering on grants to improve water quality, improving the historic Lake Hopatcong Station, it’s always “for the lake,” and we’re grateful for the help we get from our lake community!
We hope you enjoy these snapshots of a wonderful day. Thank you to all who shared your photos, and especially to Bob Kays for documenting the event.