EAST WINDSOR: Twin Rivers Day draws community together

By Amy Batista, Special Writer
   Community residents, friends and family came out in the heat to take part in the annual Twin Rivers Day on Sunday.
    More than 1,000 people attended the event, which the Twin Rivers Community Trust hosted from noon to 5 p.m. in an open field next to the Twin Rivers Library on Abbington Drive.
    “Originally, it was a way to get the community out to mingle,” said Kathee Stauffer of the Twin Rivers Community Trust.
    Local sponsors support the annual event, which has been taking place for about 30 years, according to Ms. Stauffer.
    “We did solicit sponsorship to help defray some of the costs,” Ms. Stauffer said, adding that Party Perfect in Freehold supplied the rides and the roaming magician.
    “So far, so good,” said Debbie Kochberg, of East Windsor, who was attending the event for the first time with her kids.
    “The kids are enjoying all the water rides,” Ms. Kochberg said. “Perfect for a hot day.”
    Local dignitaries, including Mayor Janice Mironov and Sen. Linda Greenstein, attended the event. Some council members also came out for the evening concert.
    “It’s great that the Twin Rivers (Homeowners Association) president and board members put together Twin Rivers Day for their community geared especially to children,” Mayor Mironov said. “The concert in the evening was lively and a great fun night out for the community.”
    The evening concert featuring the Rhythm Shop started at 7 p.m.
    “Some comments were that it was the best concert we’ve ever had,” Ms. Stauffer said.
    Sen. Greenstein said, “Twin Rivers has always been a great area with a real sense of community, and it is all on display at Twin Rivers Day. The kids enjoying themselves on the water rides, the parents enjoying the food stands and, of course, the rollicking concert at night make for a fun day, in spite of the heat. I want to commend the Twin Rivers board for the work they do on this terrific annual event.”
    Jennifer Drozd, of Hillsborough, attended the event with her family.
    “I grew up coming here,” Ms. Drozd said. “They are having a great time.”
    Her boys, Kyle, 3, and Ryan, 6, took a spin on the teacup ride.
    Larry Parker, of East Windsor, who is Ms. Drozd’s father, said, “This has really evolved from the early days.”
    According to Mr. Parker, there are more rides and “stuff.”
    “When it first started off, it was just the library and more free market tables, but there is so much more now,” Mr. Parker said. “We come back every year. It’s such a great time.”
    Despite the hot, humid weather, Twin Rivers residents participated in a variety of activities throughout the afternoon. Purchasing a wristband gave them unlimited access to rides, bouncy houses, waterslides and facing painting.
    “It’s a great event for kids, Ann Rose, of East Windsor, said. “A lot of waterslides for the kids. The mechanical bull was a big hit.”
    Camilla Sabogal, 9, of East Windsor, and her sister Isbella, 10, enjoyed going down the waterslides.
    “This is great for the local kids, especially all the water rides on a hot day like this,” said their dad, Nestor Sabogal, of East Windsor, who has been attending the event since moving into the area about 12 years ago.
    Mr. Sabogal said his daughters also like to participate in the dance contest and the Little Miss and Little Mr. Twin Rivers Day contest.
     “It really is nice,” said Linda Tokarz, of Monroe, who was there with her grandchild, Jacob Leaod, 5, of East Windsor.
    East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 also helped residents cool off with a squirt truck at the end of Bennington Drive. Children could be heard screaming with delight and laughing as they ran through the cold water. In addition, two firefighters used two small hoses to sprinkle additional water on the youngsters running around the area.
    “The East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 has been attending Twin Rivers Day for many years,” Chief Eric Coran said. “Every year, our activities for the children and adults seem to be a huge hit. Again, this year, we used our tele-squirt fire truck as a giant sprinkler for everyone to cool off and have a great time. Also, we used our hose lines to get people wet and give the kids a chance to see what it feels like to hold a fire hose. It gives the community a change to come and meet the firefighters and see the firetrucks. I think this year at Twin Rivers Day was a hit, and I believe everyone enjoyed their time there.”
    Later that afternoon, the fire company raffled off a television as part of its fundraiser, which started during the Casino Night event sponsored by the East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 and the Twin Rivers Community Trust on Feb. 23. The winner was Autumn Frock.
    According to Chief Coran, the company raised $1,100 from the raffle.
    Participants also took part in free activities, which included dancing and singing along to a DJ, checking out the library book sale, watching a magician, petting animals in the petting zoo and participating in various contests such as the hula hoop and limbo contests.
    Ten contestants participated in the pie-eating contest.
    “The pie-eating contest was new and seemed like a hit with the crowd,” Ms. Stauffer said, adding the pies were purchased at ShopRite.
    Jose Tineo, of East Windsor, won the contest by eating the most apple pie. Contestants had two minutes to eat two pies. Whoever came the closest to eating both pies won. Contestants were not allowed to use their hands.
    Mr. Tineo said he joined the pie-eating contest for his son, Alexander, 6 months old.
    “It was a fun time,” Mr. Tineo said. “It was great.”
    People in attendance noted there seemed to be less vendors this year, but the event looked bigger than the one in 2012.
    “This year was the best yet,” said Sandra Trenholm, of East Windsor. “The kids loved the waterslides. The Fire Department spraying people with the fire hose is the thing the kids talk about the most before and after the fair.”