PARSIPPANY — This April “The Friends of Lake Hiawatha” is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The non-profit organization was originally established with one mission in mind and that mission was to “enhance the appearance of the Lake Hiawatha business area and bring more of a community feel to the neighborhood”.
With that in mind, they reached out to partner with our Lake Hiawatha’s merchants. One of the first goals was to purchase holiday decorations to “brighten up” North Beverwyck Road, which of course, is used by many people as they drive or walk in the area.
With generous donations from many of the merchants, the first purchase was 20 snowflake lights to decorate half of our lampposts for the winter season. With continued donations and fundraising events, they were able to purchase 20 additional snowflake lights and even added lighted wreaths, enough to cover all lampposts.
Every winter season, thanks to the Parks and Recreation department, which installs and removes the decorations, North Beverwyck Road is transformed into a “Winter Wonderland” and admired by all.
Having reached this goal, they then concentrated the efforts on purchasing barrels for planting flowers. The barrels are displayed along the road with a variety of beautiful flowers for the spring/summer seasons and colorful mums for the fall season. Thanks to Mayor Soriano’s assistance, the spring and summer flowers are now on display in containers that hang from the lampposts.
Having accomplished their beautification goals, they began to focus on community activities. First, they coupled with the Parsippany Girl Scouts to organize a yearly “Scarecrow Contest” which “The Friends of Lake Hiawatha” sponsored for the past eight years.
Each year girl scout troops create scarecrows that are exhibited either along the boulevard or in the gazebo. The committee members together with some of the merchants vote for first and second prize winners. The first prize winners enjoy a free ice cream party at Lake Hiawatha Dairy generously donated by John Pascarella and the second prize winners are awarded a pizza party at Valentino’s Restaurant donated by the organization.
“The Friends of Lake Hiawatha” sponsors a Winterfest in December that has become a very popular event for both children and parents. Santa Claus arrives on the Lake Hiawatha fire truck with the generous assistance of our volunteer firefighters. The children get to meet with Santa, who sits in the gazebo, and thanks to his Elves, each child gets a candy cane and a ticket to their annual raffle. As they wait for Santa, they enjoy hot chocolate and cookies and listen to Holiday Music. At the conclusion of the evening, the organization donates 10-inch girl’s and boys’ bicycles to the lucky winners of the raffle.
Unfortunately, they were not able to sponsor these events last year due to the pandemic. Hopefully, this year the organization will continue with the community activities which have brought families from different parts of Parsippany to Lake Hiawatha, the only truly original Main Street in our Township.
The current members of the “Friends of Lake Hiawatha”, Antoinette Piccolo-Simmons, Carol Greco, and John Pascarella, are committed to continuing these wonderful community activities.