BYRAM TOWNSHIP, NJ - Even though the scheduled Byram Day was postponed due to rain, Sunday, September 9, had perfect weather for the event.
This year's Byram Day focused on recognizing the work of local volunteers.
All the council members attended the event and Mayor James Oscovitch introduced them to the crowd during the opening ceremony.
Oscovitch began the time by defining the term "volunteer" as "someone who gives time to a need without profiting momentarily." he also recognized those volunteers who were unable to attend and said, "Many of these volunteers could not attend because their volunteering obligations kept them away."
"These volunteers could not attend an event recognizing volunteers because they we volunteering," Oscovitch said. "These volunteers make it great to live in Byram Township."
Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen spoke after the mayor and asked to remember the volunteers overseas.
"There are still many troops overseas in Iraq, even though it sounds like we're out of Iraq," he said."We need to think of those volunteers and thank them for their effort."
Next Janet Meisner, Director of the Byram Township Recreation Department, introduced the New Jersey Volunteer of the Year: John Pappalardo.
"Mr. Pappalardo has volunteered for 45 years, and has been on the recreational committee for 37 years," Meisner said. "He is currently vice-chair and was director for around 27 years."
After his introduction, Pappalardo thanked the volunteers he works with."You can't volunteer without great volunteers around you."
The mayor made several more announcements and then concluded the opening ceremony.
Byram residents began buying tickets to play the obstacle course, take a pony ride, or play in the bounce house.
Pappalardo explained the beginning of Byram Day in an interview.
"I started Byram Day in 1974, and it continued for seven years, then we stopped having it for several reasons, but it began again about 15 years ago," he said.
When asked why Byram Day is important to the community, Pappalardo said, "This event is one of the few that really brings the town together."
He explained that many people in the town a disconnected from their community unless they have children in the school system. Byram Day offers an opportunity for residents to see organizations in the town and all that the township has to offer its residents.
"I am a proud Byram Township resident for 45 years," Pappalardo said.
Several of the more than 50 vendors at the event presented information about different volunteer opportunities they offer, while others sold handmade products or gave information about their local businesses. BARKS, the local animal rescue, brought kittens for adoption and offered information about donating or volunteering with the organization.
Later in the day, residents participated in a hot dog eating contest, sponsored by Salt, and a pizza eating contest, sponsored by Frank's Trattoria.
In the back of the park, three live bands performed throughout the event. These bands were "On Break," soloist Nina Petersen, and "Stinking Gringos," all local Byram performers.
The Byram Historical Society presented a special program where residents could be students in the old one-room schoolhouse and receive information about participating in the Historical Society.
With the beautiful weather, many vendors, and special recognition of local volunteers, Byram Day was a great event for residents to see all that the town has to offer.