Middletown Day is coming back this September, after a year’s hiatus due to economics.
And officials are saying that this time the classic community event on the great lawn at Croydon Hall is going to be “bigger and better than ever.” In an effort to pare down the usual cost that Mayor Tony Fiore says tops $50,000, there will be more vendor-run and business-sponsored booths and events, similar to how Monmouth County Fair is run.
In the past, Fiore said that most of the money to run the event went to inter-township staffing costs and police overtime.
This year, Fiore had said, the event will be run in the Monmouth County Fair style, so people in the community can be more a part of the event themselves. The plan is to make it more “interactive,” with no township staff cost.
Most of the former township Department of Parks and Recreation staff that ran Middletown has been laid off. What was Parks and Recreation is also now solely Recreation. Parks maintenance responsibilities have been relegated to Public Works.
Middletown Day started unofficially in the 1990s when the township celebrated its tri-centennial. The event was such a success that the following year, township Parks and Recreation and Community Affairs sponsored an annual picnic that soon became the official .
Typically attracting more than 10,000 visitors annually, in the past, hosted a small circus, carnival games, face painting, a craft fair, pony rides, a food court, car show, musical entertainment, fire and police demonstrations, clowns, magic shows, community service booths and more.
The Day committee — comprised of community, civic and business leaders — has been meeting and crafting a plan for the premier of new and improved day at the end of September.
You knew what to expect at the Middletown Day of the past. What about the future?
What type of entertainment, booth or interactive activity would you like to see at this year’s Middletown Day? Don’t be shy. Tell us in the comments section below. And, FYI, hot air balloon rides may be out of the question, but it never hurts to ask.