Music, fireworks and fun at Andover Township Day Caitlyn McAdams is crowned Miss Andover
Fireworks marking the end of Andover Township Day at Hillside Park reflect in the waters of nearby Lake Iliff
Photos by Mandy Coriston
By Mandy Coriston Andover — Storm clouds loomed, but the rain held off on Saturday, June 2, as Andover Township residents, community groups, and town leadership celebrated Andover Township Day at Hillside Park on Lake Iliff Rd. The afternoon began with opening ceremonies at 1 p.m., with the raising of the flag by Boy Scout Troop 85, the Pledge of Allegiance, and a stirring rendition of the national anthem by Scout Garrett Vanni. The day went on to include the Little Miss/Little Mr. Andover and Miss Andover pageants, a talent show, inflatables, a dunk tank, concessions and games, displays from local businesses and community groups, live music from cover bands Best of Foo and Contraband, and ended with a large professional fireworks display at dusk. The pageants for the titles of Little Miss/Mr. Andover and Miss Andover began at 1:15 pm, emceed by Andover Township Day Co-Chair Jim Holmes. Konstantine Dunbar, age 5, was uncontested to win Little Mr. Andover. He won over the crowd with his dapper ensemble of black vest and green tie, and his unabashed wish for a dirt bike. This year’s Miss Andover title was uncontested as well, and Miss Caitlyn McAdams will go on to represent Andover Township at the NJ State Fair/Sussex County Farm and Horse Show in August to compete for Queen of the Fair. McAdams is an avid outdoorswoman who loves hunting and kayaking, and wants to pursue a career in the medical field. She works at the Sparta Pharmacy and wants to attend pharmacy school, with a goal of someday going into pharmaceutical research. Five little girls between the ages of 4 and 6 vied for the title of Little Miss Andover, and a ripple of laughter ran through the audience as four out of the five expressed a wish for a unicorn. Miss Cassidy Bailey was awarded the title by the judges, and received a bouquet of flowers nearly larger than herself. She could barely contain a grin while being crowned by last year’s Miss Andover, Danielle Frank. Area Boy and Girl Scouts were out in force on Saturday, selling concessions and raising funds. Boy Scout Troop 85, in addition to providing the color guard and anthem, was offering snow cones and other treats. The Girl Scouts Newton Service Unit, which includes troops from Newton, Andover, and Green, was also on hand to man the dunk tank and sell hamburgers, hot dogs, and cotton candy. Troop 5015 Leader Donna Porzilli said, “Our troop from Green is small, at only 5 girls, but the Service Unit has 7 girls in total going for their Gold Award (Girl Scouts’ highest rank) this year.” The dunk tank was sponsored by Newton-Sparta Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, and the proceeds were to be split between the Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops in attendance. Inside the Barn, tables were set up to showcase a variety of groups and businesses. William Bosworth, longtime resident and former Andover Township Mayor, was selling and signing copies of his novels, The Tax Collector and The Decision. Representatives of the Lake Iliff Community Club, located around the corner from the park on Limecrest Road, had a colorful display showing off the amenities and beauty of the private beach club. The club is currently open for new memberships. Linda Grinthal and Eileen Gantz, members of the Community Emergency Response Team or CERT, were on hand with literature explaining the group’s mission to lend support in the community during a variety of emergency situations. The Andover CERT group is part of a larger nationwide network that can provide trained volunteers to assist at disaster sites, back up local first responders, and work on non-emergency projects to strengthen the safety of communities. Local publisher Best Vision Media, which produces Neighbors of Andover magazine, had a large table display for the event. The media group’s Colleen Figueiredo said, “We love bringing a dose of happiness to people each month. It’s heartwarming getting to know the families who are doing such good in our community.” The monthly publication was established in April 2017, and features a new “cover family” on every edition, as well as local interest stories, classifieds, and announcements. Township Mayor Janis McGovern was in the Barn to set up a screening of the short film “The Story of Stuff,” sponsored by Sustainable Andover. The film outlines the stream of materials from purchase through disposal, and highlights the importance of recycling and reducing waste. For each event like this that it sponsors, Sustainable Andover earns points which go toward maintaining their status with parent group Sustainable NJ. The group is separate from the municipal government, but works closely with town hall for community events that further the good of the town. McGovern said, “Andover Day is such a great way to showcase the township and our beautiful park!” Mike Lensak, who is running to rejoin the township council after serving as a councilman and mayor until 2015, said, “This is a great day for the community. I’m so glad Andover Township Day was brought back,” referring to the event’s multi-year hiatus in the early 2000’s. Between services like R. Poust Heating and Cooling raising a large American flag on one of their utility trucks, to the Green Life Market offering samples and selling sandwiches, and a small family operation named Slimey Time (peddling, yes, play slime), it was easy to see the diversity of the businesses within Andover. As children ran all over the playground with balloons provided by Weichert Realtors and bounced happily on the large inflatables, community was definitely the word of the day. Councilman Ellsworth “Ben” Bensley said, “We’ve been working hard on this since the beginning of the year. We wanted to have the date be early enough, before people go on vacation. You never know what the weather will bring, but this is great.” People chatted at the pavilion picnic tables and indulged in concessions, while members of the Andover Township Fire Department and the Lakeland Emergency Squad as well as officers from the Andover Township Police Department mingled with the crowd. Andover Township Recreation Committee Chairwoman Gigi Regolizio took a moment to reflect on the day. “It takes a whole community to pull this off," she said. "I’m grateful for my committee for organizing this, and to the community groups for participating. We want to continue to grow this event every year.” Regolizio also said the Recreation Committee always welcomes new volunteers, and will be seeking a new coordinator(s) for next year’s Little Miss/Mr. and Miss Andover pageant. Anyone interested in becoming a part of the Recreation Committee can email Regolizio at email@example.com.