By MADELEINE MACCAR
People are generally eager to reclaim some of the time they lost last year to the pandemic’s restrictions, and there is plenty to do in Monroe Township to not only beat the heat but also get the most from this year’s summer after last year’s decidedly lost one.
Whether someone is increasingly comfortable with small gatherings and indoor activities, still not sure if they are ready for a full return to pre-COVID interactions, or is looking for a group activity that can accommodate people from both camps, there’s something for everyone going on around town.
Booked for the Summer
Residents of all ages can benefit from Monroe Township Library’s jam-packed calendar of events for children, teens, adults, seniors and anyone looking to learn, craft, discuss or simply get lost in a good story with a mixture of in-person and virtual events. Author talks, trivia nights and virtual discussions about timely topics have been among its offerings already.
Residents are invited to participate in events like the July 19 Non-Fiction Book Discussion, July 20 International Book Club or the July 26 Monday Meditation, as well as attend recurring programs like the Sit-N-Stitch crafters group and discussions about international films.
The township’s younger residents have their own events, too, like the ongoing summer reading program, outdoor story times, crafts ranging from paper flowers to hot air balloons, and even academic prep classes.
And for those who might not be able to make the trek across town to the library’s brick-and-mortar location, the Bookmobile is making the rounds in a flurry of both public and private stops. It’ll be making a July 21 visit to Mill Lake School from 6:15-8:15 p.m., as well as stopping by Thompson Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 31. The full schedule is available on the library’s website.
To request a neighborhood visit, fill out the application in the Bookmobile’s section of the library’s website. Library staff can’t guarantee the Bookmobile will be available, but they’ll satisfy as many requests as possible.
For more information, visit monroetwplibrary.org
Concerts in the Park
Perfect for families, groups, music lovers and those who aren’t comfortable with indoor gatherings, the township has an array of concerts planned trough Aug. 12 that are guaranteed to fill Thompson Park with music, with thanks to the Monroe Township Cultural Arts Commission.
July 22 will feature the Neil Young and general 1970s cover band Decade; July 29’s performance will be the Tony Pilleggi Trio playing the best of ’50s, ’60s and ‘70s legends such as Everly Brothers, Buffalo Springfield and Ricky Nelson. Next month, catch Alternate Groove on Aug. 2 and concert-series closers Legacy on Aug. 12.
The park concerts will have refreshments available. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs.
Visit monroetownshipculturalarts.com for more information, including concert times and ticket details, as well as a calendar of children’s events.
Magical History Tour
It’s no secret that Monroe Township is home to a number of historical sites, and they’re all filled with their own stories to tell. Visit either in-person, or virtually through a handful of videos on the township’s website, monroetwp.com
The more-than-40-acre Dey Farm Historic Site on Federal Road includes the 1830s Charles Dey Barn, which underwent renovations in 2010, as well as the relocated Prospect Plains One-Room Schoolhouse and 1831 historic rail. The site is the focus of the township’s Historical Preservation Commission’s efforts to honor Monroe’s history and educating future residents about its past with restored sites and collected relics, many of which are on display throughout the site’s museum exhibits.
The England House is a circa-1810 building that has also been relocated, now sitting adjacent to the historic farm.
In 2016, Dominic Lepri’s Eagle Scout project traced George Washington’s trail through town during his time as a general making his way to the Battle of Monmouth.
Learn more about the township’s history by following the Historical Preservation Commission on Instagram (@MonroeTwpHistory) or Facebook (MonroeTwpHistory), or reaching out to its member via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Old Favorites Return
After their COVID cancellations, events are coming back strong later this summer.
National Night Out, a community event held throughout the country to facilitate good relationships between law enforcement and residents, is scheduled for Aug. 3. Held at Thompson Park, this year will debut a car and truck show. There’ll be plenty of food, drinks and games to keep the whole family entertained and engaged.
And to replace this year’s Independence Day fireworks, a Sept. 3 event will be planned to kick off Labor Day weekend.