GREENFIELD TOWNSHIP – This year, the local area’s July 4th holiday is going to be not just a single day’s celebration but an extra-long weekend of activity-driven festivities!
Turning the Independence Day holiday weekend into a wonder-filled three days of intense family fun with a bit of nostalgic additives, members and the ladies’ auxiliary of the Newton Lake Association and the Greenfield Township Historical Society have spent many months planning this year’s holiday celebration.
Pooling their combined ideas, energies, and resources, the two groups have teamed to prepare an especially exciting multi-activity event to entice its nearly 2500 residents to stay in town for the holiday weekend.
On July 1st and 2nd, Newton Lake Park will recognize its Centennial celebration as a community. And on July 3rd, Greenfield Township Day will memorably share a wide range of additional special events and activities to be enjoyed by young and old alike.
Throughout the weekend, attendees will be treated to a food selections and live music, a sharing of each group’s rich history, and numerous water sports complete with a lake regatta. There will also be various sports and old-fashioned events and activities for all ages, and fireworks will light up Sunday’s evening sky in an added celebration of Freedom’s most colorful and boisterous celebration. For certain, every day of the holiday weekend has been well organized by both groups and promises to be exhaustingly filled with FUN for all ages!
As the Event Director for Newton Lake Park, Paul Mancini enthusiastically invites everyone to “join us on Saturday and Sunday for a community gathering at the park’s beach to honor our community’s own history and showcase the activities that made it a popular outdoor family haven for the past ten decades. “
Located off Rt. 247 along the lake bearing its name in Greenfield Township, the 50-acre Newton Lake Park was opened in 1917. Built and owned by Frank Bernhardt Wagner, Newton Lake was one of that era’s few parks not located along a trolley or railroad line. Wagner simply bet on the lake’s natural beauty and the future improvement of roads and autos for his park’s success. Through the earlier years, the park featured a miniature railroad, amusement rides like the whip and hey dey, a Ferris wheel (with the serial number 003), an Austrian-made carousel with 48-hand carved wooden figures, a roller coaster, and more. But like so many places, time moved onward, interests changed, and Wagner’s park passed into history; it was sold in 1976.
“Now a century later, the residents are fondly remembering the Park’s early history with lots of displayed memorabilia, and we’re all celebrating its Centennial,” said Mancini. “The planning committee has worked hard to combine popular newer events with other activities that are more reminiscent of yesteryear.”
Kicking off Saturday’s early-morning activities will be a 3k walk and a 5k run. Mid-morning kayak races and afternoon waterskiing and wake boarding demonstrations will follow. And interspersed throughout the park’s two-day schedule will be old-fashioned 3-legged and egg and spoon races, a baking contest, and Bingo will take folks back in time to picnics of a century ago. “We’ve even planned fishing derbies for kids and adults, swimming lessons, a beauty pageant, and a family movie night on the beach,” said Mancini.
Live music by the Centennials and Elephants Dancing & Harambe will entertain guests Saturday evening, and Static in the Attic will perform mid-day on Sunday. “Food and beverage concessions will also be available throughout both days,” added Mancini. “The Finch Hill Restaurant and Dairy Bar will have a food truck on site along with the IronHart Taproom. Captain Don’s Chilly Willy ice cream truck will also be available, and we’ll have popcorn and cotton candy too.
“And on Sunday afternoon, the park will present its Centennial Regatta,” Mancini added. “This fun event will allow everyone to put their love of the lake on display for all to see in a fabulous lake parade. All boats will also be judged on the most original, prettiest, and funniest. It’ll be a fun day for sure!” To ease parking matters, Mancini noted that shuttle busses will also be available on Saturday and Sunday between the Greenfield Township Municipal Building on Rt. 106 and Newton Lake Park.
On Monday July 3rd, the Greenfield Township Historical Society will hold its own celebration at the municipal building grounds on Rt. 106. As Society Chairman Joe Slebodnik explained, “This day will include an opportunity for people to visit the 1850 Carpenter School No. 6, our new museum building, and an 1897 school bus that’s all contained on the municipal grounds. Musician Jay Smar will present an interactive program at 5:30pm that is appropriate for all ages. Armed with a guitar, banjo, and fiddle, Mr. Smar will serve an ‘acoustic buffet’ of traditional American, original folk, and old-time mountain music, as well as bluegrass tunes. We’ll also have light food and beverages available for sale.”
“The three days of celebration are open to the public and admission is free,” Mancini added. “This is a non-profit event and some of the vendors are donating their time and or a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their concessions. We do plan to have a donation box for a free-will offering, as all of the event’s proceeds will be donated to help fund the development of the future Greenfield Township Veteran’s Park.”
“Greenfield Township is especially proud of our plans for the new Veteran’s Park,” noted Clara Gardner, Secretary of the Society. “It will be located on the old farm property across from the municipal grounds, and when completed it will be a beautiful community recreation area displaying Greenfield’s pride and love for their true heroes. It will feature a large triangular area enclosed by a fieldstone wall, with a local slate containing a list of the area’s veterans engraved on its face. These names will date all the way back to the Greenfield Militia of pre-colonial times.
“Suspended from a pole in mid-air will be a U.S. Military helicopter landing near the flagpole,” continued Gardner. “The Veteran’s Park will also feature a public pavilion for hosting events such as future Greenfield Days. Walking trails and playground equipment will also be here for the children to enjoy. Our hope is to have this completed by year-end 2018.”
While Gardner noted that the grant application processes for the Park are ongoing. “Anyone who would like to see the design plans or donate to the Veteran’s Park can stop by the Society’s Museum office or contact me.”
For additional information and updates about the July 4th holiday weekend events, like Newton Lake on Facebook @NewtonLakePark Anniversary or contact Mancini at 201-312-2545. For additional information about Greenfield Township day or the future Veteran’s Park, contact Gardner at 570-282-2768 or Slebodnik at 570-282-2899.