Visitors of all ages have fun at Lawrence Township Community Day


Eduardo Cruz picked up a short length of hose and ran over to drop it in the box. Then he rushed over to a hose reel and pulled out a 30-foot-long section of garden hose, pretending it was a fire hose.

Next, Eduardo climbed up a few rungs on a stepladder to rescue a “cat” – a stuffed animal – from a “tree,” just like firefighters do. Then he raced over to some tubes and crawled through them.

Lastly, he picked up a large stuffed bear and pulled it about 10 feet to “safety.”

It was all in a day’s work for a budding firefighter, and one of the most popular attractions at Lawrence Township’s Community Day, which was held in Village Park on Oct. 7. The annual event showcases community groups, volunteer organizations and businesses in Lawrence Township.

Silvia Cruz, Eduardo’s mother, said she learned about Community Day when she saw a sign promoting the event and thought it might be an interesting way for her children to have some fun. She was not disappointed.

After Eduardo completed the “Junior Firefighters Skills Challenge” course set by the Lawrenceville Volunteer Fire Co., he walked over to check out the offerings in the “touch a truck” exhibit in the Bergen Street parking lot.

Children could pull themselves up into the cab of a fire engine, as well as the cabs of a snowplow, a front end loader, a backhoe and a bucket truck used by the township Department of Public Works tree removal crew.

Meanwhile, along the meandering asphalt path in Village Park, many community groups set up shop and handed out literature to introduce themselves and their mission to visitors.

Several youth sports groups, including the Lawrence Hamnett Soccer Association, the Lawrence Junior Baseball and Softball Association and the Lawrence Lacrosse Club, took up booths in hope of making themselves known to residents.

For the younger set, tattoos and face-painting abounded. Lawrence High School students who belong to the Students Helping Honduras group offered glitter face-painting on young faces and glitter tattoos on the children’s arms.

The League of Women Voters of Lawrence Township had a booth, as did the Lawrence Citizen Activists, both of them across the way from the Greater Eldridge Park Neighborhood Association and the Garden Gate Garden Club.

Businesses that included Organize and Maintain, which helps clients “de-clutter” and organize their possessions, as well as Lawrenceville Home Improvement, had booths.

Jewelry and arts and crafts vendors set up shop to offer their wares.

There were plenty of happy screams, too, as children bounced around on the inflatable bounce house and the inflatable slide, which were set up next to the playground, another popular attraction, in Village Park.

Behind the Lawrence Township Police Department booth, police officers Ron Buchanan and James Steimle put their K-9 dogs, Ti, a Belgian Malinois, and Brix, a German shepherd, through their paces. Ti sniffs out explosives and Brix zeroes in on narcotics.

Asked what she liked most about Community Day, given all that was available to see and do, Cruz said the answer was simple.

“Just to see Eduardo smiling and having fun, that’s my favorite part of Community Day,” she said.