For as long as Parkers have remembered, a Rite of Spring in town has always been the Annual Candy Run. Children of all ages – regardless of where they lived in town, what their family name was, or whose names they placed on their lawns during elections – gathered as one to forget about the worries that life brings for a while and take part in something they will always remember. Memories they will be able to pass down. Tradition.
This year, that tradition continued in Acker Park, and it did not disappoint. At first, one family showed up and were greeted by the Easter Bunny, the day’s superhero, who warmly stood for pictures. Then other families arrived, friends waved hi to each others, parents talked while their children played on swings, rode down slides, and everyone waited for the moment to arrive. A lawn strewn with candy awaited eager hands and eyes and at 10 am, the moment had arrived. With a countdown from five to zero, Roselle Park’s 2013 Candy Run began.
Elaine Weaver, a member of the Recreation Department who helped organize this year’s event, recounted how the annual event was more personal and not just about candy.
“Some days we didn’t have much in our house as a child, and the Candy Run was a day I really looked forward to. It was, even then, hundreds of happy families laughing, talking; a chance to get a quick visit with the Easter Bunny,” she recalled, “To be part of it today means I get to help give a child those same type of happy memories to grow up with.”
Along with her husband Eric, Recreation Director Rich Graves, his wife Carol, Tina & John Schwarz, Pat Magee, Ron Royster, the Easter Bunny, and others, the Rec Department ensured that everything ran smoothly, that the park was left clean, and that everyone had a smile on their face when the day was over.
“I have yet to see a child go home unhappy from this event. Every child goes home with something and this year so did a bunch of ‘kids at heart’. It is just fun! This event only works because others are there to help,” Ms. Weaver stated, bringing it back to how what she experienced as a child stayed with her, “I grew up here and have many memories of events that bring smiles to my face. I want kids to grow up tell their kids how great their hometown was.”
The Rec Department holds meetings on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 pm in the Anthony Signorello Youth Center located at 234 Chestnut Street (next to the Roselle Park Post Office). Meetings have a public portion and the public is invited to attend. Anyone interested in volunteering or finding out more information can contact them via phone at (908) 241-0564 or through the Roselle Park Recreation Facebook page (link).
In closing, when asked why she does her part as far as all the hard work involved with preparation in running such events as well as being involved with basketball and other forms of volunteering in town, Elaine – referring to her children – simply stated, “I know [the reasons] why I do it and two of them are sitting right next to me.”