BERKELEY – Civic groups, first responders, and student performances marked another Berkeley Pride Day, showing the best the town has to offer.
The day serves as the capstone to the summer concert series. That evening, Stiletto & the Saxman sang doo-wop and other pop standards. They were followed by the British Invasion known for their covers of songs from the other side of the pond. It was capped off by fireworks.
The entertainment was supported by community members and business donors through such things as the mayor’s golf outing, the summer program book and sign advertising.
The crowd was circled by vendors providing food and knick knacks. A few were businesses, but most were community groups. They use these events as their primary fundraising for the year.
The Central Regional field hockey team was selling tie dyed shirts to raise money. Coach Agnes Whitfield said the fundraising was going pretty well. They only set up a booth at this event, not the rest of the summer concert series. It’s hard to get the kids together over the summer, and the season goes from mid-August until November.
The Berkeley Township Historical Society was selling T-shirts as well. They also had an old train engine that used to work in the Pinewald area. It was part of a parade that morning, carried on the back of a flatbed truck. It trekked from the Central Regional Middle School’s parking lot through the area. It took two laps around Crystal Lake Healthcare, said Gerry Morey, president of the Historical Society. That train had once helped move dirt that created the man-made Crystal Lake.
“It was the first time in 96 years that engine has gone around the lake,” he said.
The engine brought attention to the organization. He said 20 members came out to help at the event, and about a half dozen people signed up as new members. The engine will be stored at the town’s Public Works until a base will be built for it, and then it will be installed at the Historical Society museum on Route 9.
Robyn Griffith was collecting for the kickoff of the 2023 Relay for Life benefitting the American Cancer Society. Her team brought in about $9,000 this year, and her goal is to hit $10,000 next year.
Berkeley Recreation had activities like face painting, and there were also inflatables for the kids.
It wasn’t all fun and games, though. It was also a time for reflection. Officials use this day as a time to hold a ceremony remembering those who were lost during the attacks on September 11, 2001. They do this because the festival usually falls around the anniversary, and also because it ensures that there will be a healthy crowd for it.
Dozens of residents watched as Boy Scouts laid wreaths, speeches were recited, and officials reminded them of the importance of the event.
Speakers also urged people to remember those who were lost in the Middle Eastern wars after the attacks, and those who suffered health problems from responding to Ground Zero.