Lake Hopatcong Foundation’s Block Party Attracts Crowds All Day

The weather did not look like it was going to cooperate early last Saturday morning, said Lake Hopatcong Foundation (LHF) president Jessica Murphy. But the fifth annual Lake Hopatcong Block Party was far from a washout on May 12.

When the vendors started setting up, rain was torrential, volunteer Robin Kline told The Jefferson Chronicle. But the weather radar was correct and the rain held off throughout the scheduled seven hours of festivities. The residual chill in the air was not enough to deter visitors.

Nearly 2,000 attendees joined almost 200 volunteers at the event hosted by the LHF. “Thank you all for being here and bringing your positive energy and enthusiasm, no matter what Mother Nature tries to do to us,” said Murphy.

The Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum was open all day, with visitors coming and going. The party also featured music and dance performances, boat rides, children’s train ride, reptile show, food vendors, crafters, and local businesses from the four municipalities around the lake.

A trackless train chugged through Hopatcong State Park, providing riders with a great view of the 5th Annual Lake Hopatcong Block Party. (Photo provided by the Lake Hopatcong Foundation)

Booths were set up at the lakeside end of the parking lot, where visitors wandered among the offerings toting bags full of goodies and giveaways. By noon, cars covered the state park pavement and shuttle buses were bringing guests from several outlying lots. The food court filled up and vendors greeted passing patrons, while beach balls, bubbles, and live music filled the air.

Rizzo’s Reptile Discovery entertained and educated kids of all ages at the 5th Annual Lake Hopatcong Block Party. (Photo provided by the Lake Hopatcong Foundation)

One of the most popular venues was the Hackettstown Fish Hatchery truck with a touch tank and information about the fish stocked in the lake. Ron Jacobson has been bringing the truck to events since the early 2000s. Children enjoy touching the fish, and their parents enjoy reminiscing about eating the fish they caught in Lake Hopatcong. Jacobson noted that the state stocks Lake Hopatcong with walleye, white/striped bass hybrids, large-mouth bass, channel catfish, and muskellunge.

Volunteers in bright blue shirts did their best to keep everything on course. According to volunteer coordinator Judy Caruso, it took 162 people to make it all happen. “Even in the pouring rain during our setup, they all showed up,” she said. “They always show up, do their jobs, and cover for each other whenever necessary. There’s no way we could pull off an event of this scale without them.”

Rainy weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of volunteer Jamie Windt, Block Party Volunteer Coordinator Judy Caruso and volunteer Denise Kays. (Photo provided by the Lake Hopatcong Foundation)

Lee Moreau, who co-planned the block party with Beth BaRoss, arrived before sunrise and was still on his feet as canopies, signs, and sound systems were loaded into vans at the end of the day. “How is it possible to adequately thank everyone in the Lake Hopatcong community who helped make this event a success?” he asked, clearly spent.

The Lake Hopatcong Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to “improve Lake Hopatcong for all, now and in the years to come.” For more information, visit www.lakehopatcongfoundation.org.

An Clár School of Irish Dance of Stanhope charmed onlookers with their perfomrances at the 5th Annual Lake Hopatcong Block Party. (Photo provided by the Lake Hopatcong Foundation)

The Lake Hopatcong Foundation contributed to this story.

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Jane is a veteran journalist with years of experience in municipal, police and court reporting as well as feature writing. She is a native of the Lake Hopatcong section of Jefferson Township. A true Jersey Girl, she loves the beach as well as the lake, horses and classic cars. She lives in Warren County and has three grown children. She can be reached at jane.primerano@thejeffersonchronicle.com.

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