STAFFORD – Despite COVID-19 canceling many local events, the Stafford Township Recreation Department and the Stafford Historical Society presented “Founders Day: A Parade of History” for their annual Founders Day celebration.
The event paid tribute to the past 55 years of Founders Day and Stafford Township history.
Jason Hazelton of the Recreation Department hosted the event alongside Mayor Gregory Myhre, Council President Robert Henken, Councilman Paul Krier and Councilman Anthony Guariglia.
This year’s Founders Day took place at Manahawkin Lake Park and Heritage Park. Although a huge parade normally takes place when celebrating Founders Day, due to COVID-19 the Township had to change the parade and come up with a new and safe way to celebrate.
“The idea started about a couple months ago with a conversation as to how we can still celebrate the founding of Stafford Township in a safe and socially distant way and still have fun for people and you’ll see the combination of all those ideas,” Jason Hazelton stated. “We have a museum open house and we have bands playing. There’s lots of things to come out and enjoy.”
Residents were invited to walk the grounds of the two parks and tour the Old Baptist Church, Old Stone Store and the Manahawkin Train Station of the Tuckerton Railroad. Ocean County Historian Tim Hart was at Founders Day giving walking tours of old downtown and presented artifacts from the buildings. There were also video presentations shown of archived interviews of some of Stafford’s most respected founding residents.
“A lot of people have spent time and energy putting Founders Day together. This year is different from previous years where it’s been a huge affair with our parade and firework show,” Mayor Gregory Myhre said.
Visitors enjoyed live music and different food trucks while learning about the history of Stafford Township. The event this year still carried the tradition of the pumpkin carving contest, called Jack-O-Lantern Blaze this year. The Halloween costume contest was held mainly online this year.
Little Miss Stafford Makenna Strouse, Little Town Crier RJ Robinson and Junior Miss Stafford Lindsey McDermott also made an appearance at this year’s Founders Day. Lindsey talked briefly about her signs she’s made to support the Stafford Police Department. Lindsey sold more signs at the Founders Day celebration, raising money towards the annual Toy Drive this season.