|By Katelyn Gendron|
Reminder Assistant Editor
WESTFIELD The summer events at Stanley Park have evolved into an elaborate calendar of entertainment for all those who wish to embrace the park's majestic beauty.
Each year, Jill Moretz, office manager at Stanley Park, works diligently to provide the most diverse and appealing entertainment lineup with a budget of approximately $25,000.
"It's evolved [largely] from community input," she explained of the extensive calendar of activities. "I try to get what the community enjoys."
She noted that at each event she has park personnel ask those in attendance to answer survey questions to better aid her in understanding which performances and events they enjoyed the most.
The calendar of summer events includes the Carillon Concerts; Friday Mornings for Children; Garden Workshops; the July Fireworks Extravaganza; Nature Workshops; Stanley Park Storytelling; the Sunday Concert Series; Westfield American Legion Band Concerts; the Westfield Park and Recreation Department's Nature Programs; and the Zoo on the Go.
Moretz noted that each year the children's programs are becoming more and more popular, specifically the Stanley Park Storytelling and the Zoo on the Go. She explained that various live animals are brought to the park for children to interact with, such as a rabbits, hedgehogs, baby deer, lizards, snakes, baby foxes or even goats.
Carol Martin, associate director of development for Stanley Park, explained that the storytelling sessions are facilitated by master storyteller Emma Hayward and are aimed at enhancing the children's awareness of the environment. She noted that if a child attends every storytelling session they will be awarded a Junior Partners in Preservation certificate.
"We're really trying to help children become more environmentally aware," Martin said. "We're all a part of nature and it affects everything we do."
Patricia Burden, director of development for Stanley Park, noted that one of the largest events at the park each summer is the Fourth of July Celebration. This year will mark the second annual Grand Ole 4th of July Prelude and Salute on July 3 at 6 p.m.
She explained that the evening will feature a variety of fun events and competitions prior to the fireworks, including prizes for best Fourth of July costumes. Burden noted that the atmosphere created during this celebration takes those in attendance back to the Westfield of one century ago.
She also noted that the park will feature one of the area's greatest treasures this summer when the Board of Directors of Stanley Park host a black-tie optional evening at the Carillon Tower on Aug. 1.
"It's such a meaningful icon to the area," Burden said.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. and feature music from Westfield resident and jazz soloist Sarah Elizabeth Charles. The evening will also honor Harry Rock, a past president of the park's board of directors.
Burden noted that the events do not end with the last day of summer, however, as the park remains a majestic beauty for all to enjoy the whole year through.
For more information about this summer's events at Stanley Park go to www.stanleypark.org.
The following is a list of summer events at Stanley Park:
Carillon Concerts: Presented the first and third Sundays of each month, May to November, from 3 - 4 p.m.
Friday Mornings for Children: The Puppet People will present "Puppet Potpourri" on July 11, the Stupendous Mr. Magichead on July 18, Rick Golden on July 25, Terry a la Berry's Beach Party on Aug. 1, Julie & Brownie on Aug. 8, Toe Jam Puppet Band on Aug. 22 and Ed Popielarczyk's Magical Moments on Aug. 15.
Garden Workshops: "Water Gardening" on July 12, "Basic Landscape Lighting Installation for the Homeowner" on Sept. 6 and "Apples, Apples, Apples!" on Sept. 20. The workshops will take place at the Beveridge Pavilion from 10 a.m. to noon, except for Sept. 6, which will begin at 6:15 p.m. All programs are free.
July Fireworks Extravaganza: July 3 at 6 p.m. Rain date is July 6.
Nature Workshops: "Ferns and their Relatives for Beginners" on July 19, "Nature Reclaims History" on Aug. 16, "Hemlock Wooly Adelgid" on Sept. 13, "Late Summer Wildflowers" on Sept. 20 and "Nature Reclaims History" on Oct. 18.
Stanley Park Storytelling: Session 1 Preschool (ages two five) on Tuesdays, from 11 a.m. to noon until July 29. Session 2 Elementary (ages six eight) on Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to noon until July 31. Session 3 Elementary (ages nine - 12) on Fridays, Aug. 1 - 22, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Registration is required. Sign up at the Westfield Athenaeum Children's Library or at Stanley Park. These programs will take place at the Meeting House.
Sunday Concert Series: Westfield American Legion Band on July 6, Dan Kane Junior Singers on July 13, the Glamour Girls on July 20, the Heritage Pops Orchestra on July 27, the Soul Sensations on Aug. 3, the Zone on Aug. 10, the Hal McIntyre Orchestra on Aug. 17 and Quintessential Brass on Aug. 24.
Westfield American Legion Band Concerts: Concerts are free and will be conducted at the Beveridge Pavilion at 7:30 p.m. on July 2, 9, 16 and 23.
Zoo on the Go: Forest Park will bring its mobile zoo to the Children's Playground Pavilion on Aug. 14 from noon - 1 p.m. This program is for children of all ages and is free of charge.