TOMS RIVER – For 80 years, Toms River Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 has held an annual Halloween Parade in the downtown area of the municipality.
At 5:30 p.m. today, Oct. 31, police will close roads in the downtown. The parade will start at 7 p.m. at the Toms River Shopping Center at Route 37 and Route 166 (Main Street). The parade will travel down Main Street, turn left onto Washington Street, and end at Washington Street and Hooper Avenue.
Organizers said that over the years, the parade has been attended by thousands of people, not just people who live in Toms River, but residents of neighboring communities as well.
Carl Weingroff chairs the parade committee for the fire company. He has overseen the parade for 10 years. His father, Ron Weingroff, previously chaired the parade committee for more than two decades.
“The parade used to be a block party at the firehouse. It has gotten bigger and bigger throughout the years,” Weingroff said, adding that the event receives an outstanding response from the community and from visitors.
“Last year I had someone come from London to be in the parade. We get a lot of hits on our Facebook page during the event on Facebook Live. We have had people from Honolulu, Hawaii, watch the parade through Facebook Live,” he said.
“The parade is an amazing experience. We are all volunteers at the fire company. Last year the youngest person we had participating was 6 months old and the oldest person we had was 98 years old. Just seeing people enjoy themselves is great,” Weingroff said, explaining that it takes about 13 months to organize the parade.
“I am already thinking about next year’s parade. Every year, September and October become crunch time for us. During that time we have to get the logistics taken care of, all of the security measures and any special lineups. This parade is an adventure,” he said.
The following bands are expected to participate: Toms River High School North, Toms River High School South, Toms River High School East, Toms River Intermediate North, Toms River Intermediate South, Toms River Intermediate East, Central Regional High School, Island Heights Elementary School and Manchester Township High School.