Volunteers made ‘Manalapan Under the Stars’ a hit

I would like to comment on the coverage of “Manalapan Under the Stars” 2007 by the News Transcript, or the lack thereof. This year’s Manalapan Day was the biggest and greatest one to date and even has the members of the Heritage Committee wondering how they are going to top it next year.

This year, thanks to our very own Hank Grassi, we even had people being brought in by the busload from Connecticut to see Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone.

That show and the experience News Transcript staff writer Kathy Baratta wrote about in her column last week would not have happened if it wasn’t for the countless hours Hank put in to getting the group signed and brought to New Jersey (to have this event just mentioned, although the article was nice, page 50 certainly wasn’t the place for it, and where was the article about the nearly 15,000 people that attended?)

Apparently, we are even being “blogged” about on fan sites for Peter Noone and people are raving about what a great show it was; the fans even posted pictures the next day!

For those of you who don’t know, the Heritage Committee is a group of 16 volunteers who take hours and hours away from their families over the course of about six months prepping and planning for what you the people of Manalapan see as a seamlessly perfect event. Every one of those 16 people plays a part, some bigger than others, but nonetheless we all work together.

I can personally tell you that after hundreds of e-mails and phone calls and the last-minute stresses of vendors wanting to get in and demanding that they have the perfect spot, it makes me wonder every year why I do this. I do it because I love to see the people enjoying themselves, the kids laughing, the long lines to the great food vendors and the awe on my kids’ faces when they watch those fireworks at the end of the night. I even had a first-time attendee tell me that her son wants to go to “Manalapan Day” every day.

For all of that I would be proud to be a member of the Heritage Committee again next year.

So, thank you to Hank Grassi, Hal Levy, Lou Langlais, Fran Cedeno, Jackie Devlin, Laura Essner, Maizie Frenkiel, Pat Flannery, Chet Grzankowski, Peter Hall, Jen Langlais, Scott Leitstein, Vicki Locricchio, Barbara Miller and Marty Gelfond for a job well done. I’m looking forward to doing it all again next year. I would like to also send out a special thanks to John Lewis, Alan Spector and the whole public works team. The amount of work those guys put in is tremendous and very much appreciated.

Kathleen Donohue


Heritage Committee