LOWER MAKEFIELD >> The fun began with a parade honoring the Pennsbury Athletic Association’s Cal Ripken World Series Champions and it continued nonstop until dusk when a brilliant fireworks display lit up the night skies.
Lower Makefield pulled out all the stops on Sunday for Community Day as it celebrated the unofficial end of summer by welcoming everyone home from vacation with an afternoon of food, fun and community togetherness.
The members of the Uptown String Band set the tone of the day, escorting Cal Ripken World Series Champions, the 8U Pennsbury Falcons, through the event venue just off of Edgewood Road.
Parents took pictures and onlookers cheered as members of the team carried their championship banners through Lower Makefield’s Community Park, which was buzzing with activity.
The parade even caught the attention of Pennsbury Superintendent Dr. William Gretzula who was settling into the event’s dunk tank waiting for visitors to step up for the chance to dunk the superintendent.
He didn’t have to wait long as several adults and a handful of kids were soon lining up, purchasing three balls for $2, with proceeds being donated to the superintendent’s charity of choice, the Peace Center, which does a lot of work in the district to promote a safe school environment.
Lower Makefield Supervisor Dr. Fred Weiss served as the dunk tank’s promoter, encouraging everyone to step forward to dunk the superintendent.
“What a way to start the school year right with our own superintendent, Pennsbury’s greatest,” said Weiss, his voice booming over an amplifier. “Step right up and get our superintendent soakin’ wet. Don’t let him dry out.”
Among those heeding the call was middle schooler Holden Spratt who pitched several balls before sending the superintendent into the water.
“It was like the most amazing moment of my life,” said Spratt afterwards.
As Gretzula was beginning to dry out again, he egged on the ball throwers. “I’m working on my tan here,” he said as balls whizzed by missing their mark.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Gretzula afterwards. “It's a great community day. It’s great to see the kids out today. And all the money going to a good cause.”
Gretzula landed in the water more than a half dozen times leading the superintendent to observe, “I think the future of Pennsbury Baseball is in good hands. We have some kids with great arms.”
As Gretzula was exiting the tank, Makefield Principal Donna McCormick Miller was taking his place. Before she even got settled, a crowd of kids had gathered to dunk their principal.
Mrs. M&M, as she is known by students and colleagues was happy to oblige, donating her proceeds to the first ever YES YOU CAN 5K to be held at the school on Oct. 6 to benefit Family Promise of Lower Bucks and all of the district’s PTOs. To register, visit YesYouCan5K.com.
“Mrs. M&M always draws a huge crowd every year. But this is incredible,” said Makefield parent Carla Perry of the crowd gathered around the tank. “She’s only 15 minutes in and she’s soaked. She’s awesome.”
Among those hitting the mark was Perry’s own son, Holden, who dunked the principal on his first throw. Nolan O’Connell also nailed it, dunking the principal with his second throw.
Other dunk tank celebrities this year included Edgewood Principal Stephanie Hultquist, Penn Valley Principal Barbara Hidalgo, Pennsbury instrumental teacher Patrick Bailey, Full Hearts founder Casey Schaeffer and Lower Makefield Supervisors John Lewis and Chairman Dan Grenier.
The fun and smiles were evident throughout the venue from the rides and the entertainment to the emergency services area where kids got a chance to climb aboard fire equipment provided by the Yardley-Makefield Fire Company and to take home a fire hat and a squeezable fire hydrant.
At the Riverstone Church booth, business was brisk as volunteers handed out free cotton candy to long lines of Community Day visitors.
As they made the sweet concoction, they were constantly dodging bees who were attracted by the sweetness. But bees and stickiness aside, they were having a blessed time making the kids smile.
A few booths away, Bette Sovinee was promoting the Artists of Yardley and their upcoming shows and activities as two volunteer artists traded a canvas for faces as they worked their face painting magic on what seemed to be an endless sea of children.
Mark you calendars for AOY Art Center’s 15th Annual Members Art Show and Exhibition. An Opening Reception takes place on Friday, Sept. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. The Gallery will then be open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept 7 to 22 from 12 to 5 p.m. at the Patterson Farm off of Mirror Lake Road.
Not far away, Barbara Ann Nuzzulo and Becky Diamond were giving Community Day visitors a glimpse into the past at a booth promoting the Lower Makefield Historical Commission and the Lower Makefield Historic Society.
Visitors were given the opportunity to pinpoint their homes on a 1798 map of the township’s original land grantees superimposed over a current map of the township. They also were showing off a model of the historic Cedar Grove School, an eight-sided octagonal schoolhouse that once sat on Oxford Valley Road just north of Big Oak.
Meanwhile back up at the dunk tank, Lower Makefield Supervisor Dr. Fred Weiss was busy promoting Edgewood Principal Stephanie Hultquist’s arrival in the dunk tank.
“I love this day,” said Weiss, pausing from his dunk tank duties. “It’s great to see everyone coming together just to have some fun.
“I’m seeing a lot of happy people here today. It feels good,” said Weiss, glancing around at the turnout. “Everyone’s enjoying themselves and just being happy they live in the town. I’m glad for the Parks and Recreation Department. They really did a great job.
“This is the place to be,” added Weiss. “There’s a lot of entertainment. We have the fireworks tonight. It’s all great.”
The event was organized by Monica Tierney and the Lower Makefield Township Parks and Recreation Department.