MANCHESTER – It was Recreation Director Tracey Lynch’s wish that this year’s Manchester Day once again be a time for bringing families and neighbors together for fun and enjoyment. Despite the threatening weather forecast of Storm Cindy, she seemed to have gotten her wish.
Lynch said prior to Manchester Day on June 24 at Harry Wright Lake Park that she wanted to see residents “create some special memories with their families and neighbors,” and there were certainly plenty of opportunities to do just that during the township’s special day.
“We started Manchester Day back in 1992. It did not happen for several years but we brought it back three years ago,” Lynch said. “It has always been held here in this park.”
A free shuttle bus service helped everyone reach their destination of fun. Councilman Craig Wallis said the shuttle service, which has always been part of the event, allowed for residents of different sections of the township to attend the event. “We are concluding today with an amazing fireworks display,” he added.
Mayor Ken Palmer thanked the sponsors of this year’s Manchester Day during the 2 p.m. opening ceremonies. “I want to thank everyone who sponsored the event and Councilman Wallis and Councilwoman Joan Brush who helped put this on, our police, our DPW and all our volunteers. I’d like to thank our sponsors Whiting Bible Church, Impact Property Management, Anderson & Campbell of Manchester, Major Consulting, and the Oliverie Funeral Home. We have a lot of activities today and I look forward to seeing you during the day.”
“We have 11 food vendors and 29 craft vendors,” Lynch added.
Among the food vendors was Springfield resident Renee Eaton, who along with her business partner Michelle Conrad of Manchester, brought her pink “Bacon Broads” truck to serve up various bacon delights. “My grandmother lives in Manchester so we knew this would be fun. This is the first time we’ve been a part of Manchester Day. I had a booth at the Columbus Flea Market and then decided to become a mobile vendor at special events like these,” Eaton said.
The Bacon Broads serve up various bacon sandwiches, including bacon quesadillas and their signature bacon patty sandwich. “We even serve bacon on a stick,” Conrad said.
Games, free swimming at the lake and musical attractions rounded out the day. The Manchester Police Department showed off members of their K9 unit late in the afternoon.
Dominic Brocato and Josephine Ferraro attend Manchester Day nearly every year. The two Leisure Knoll senior development residents brought along their lawn chairs for the day.
“This is a nice day to spend at the park after being stuck indoors during the winter. It is nice to come out and get some nice fresh air,” Ferraro said.
“We are always here. It makes for a nice day,” Brocato said.
Paige Torres, 12, joined her stepsisters Tyana Morales, 7, and Mia Morales, 5, for the day of fun. The trio, who hail from nearby Plumsted, were with their family friend Joanne Bartha of Whiting. They were having their photo taken beside a giant model of a mosquito in front of the Ocean County Mosquito Commission table.
“They just enjoyed their own town festival (New Egypt Day) a few weeks ago. They are kind of like my grandkids and Mia is doing some homework by gathering information on mosquitos,” Bartha said. The girls were looking forward to enjoying some of the games and Paige remarked that she wanted some cotton candy.
The Lynch family of Columbus (not related to the recreation director) was enjoying other activities. Six-year-old Shae Lynch was enjoying having her face painted by a representative of Seashore Amusements, while her parents John and Sunshine, sister Scarlett, 10, and brothers Brody, 7, and Andrew, 2, were enjoying their time in the park.
“This is our second time for Manchester Day. Last year we came here just for a day in the park not knowing it was going on. My grandparents live in Whiting so this year we came out just for Manchester Day,” Sunshine Lynch said.
Musicians Julian and Dominique were featured during the evening followed by Tusk, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band.
A fireworks display followed the concert.