Centennial Celebration

Centennial Celebration

Congratulations & Thank You Committee Members

The Centennial year has quickly passed, and I could not have asked for more from a committee than this one. Without such a dedicated and hardworking group of individuals, the number and variety of events, as well as the old fashioned sense of community that was displayed at these events, would never have been possible. Hopefully all WLB residents were able to be a part of one or more of the following:

The year started off at the January 1st Borough Council meeting with a reading of the minutes from the June 22, 1908 Council meeting. In March, the Tea and Museum Tour of the Old First United Methodist Museum which was coordinated by Linda Dennis, Irene Worles, and Louise DeBruin was a lovely event that raised awareness to the town's hidden jewel of a Museum on Locust Avenue. We also had a very successful Town Tour in April organized by Debbie Smith and Lorraine Strohmenger along with the schools. The First Aid Squad had an Open House and the Shade Tree Commission held Arbor Day events. On May 17, a Cocktail Party, chaired by Lorraine Strohmenger, along with Paul Dement was held at Monmouth University. The warm night, wonderful food and music, along with the breathtaking setting of Wilson Hall made for an exquisite evening. The celebration continued the next day with the annual Michael Thorne Run/Walk, and on to the next weekend with a Family Fun Day at Monmouth University. The day was coordinated by Beth Garrigal and Ray Rubman and the WLB Sports Association complete with rides, games, crafts, and more. Tom Ruane of Ultimate Waves DJ provided music for the day. On Monday, May 26th, Memorial Day weekend concluded with a spectacular parade coordinated by Mike Ruane and Larry Mihlon, and left spectators wanting more! A Memorial Day Service followed with guest speaker MG (Ret) Vito Morgano. Beth Garrigal, Ray Rubman, and Mary Delehantyof the Sports Association once again contributed to the day with relay races and games, and thanks to them and Randy Yelton of the WLB Drug Alliance, free food was supplied throughout the day.

On May 31 participants of the Shape Up West Long Branch and Franklin Lake 100 Programs and their families, attended Franklin Lake Day. The coordinator of the programs, Beth Garrigal, awarded tee shirts to the teams and announced a weight loss total of 309 pounds, and 2,700 total laps were made around the lake! Franklyn Dennis arranged for a very cool water demo by the Fire Department, and free inflatable rides, games, refreshments, music, and magic show, made for a great afternoon. For the month of June there was a photo display at the WLB Library provided by Tom Cameron, and on June 8th, Jim Delehanty arranged an afternoon with author Helen Chantal-Pike, who spoke at the Library and signed copies of her book "Images of America - West Long Branch". On June 22 (the date of incorporation of the borough) the WLB Community Center was the setting for the official Birthday Party & Ice Cream Social. Christine Guido and Fire Co. #2 Ladies Auxiliary along with Gene VanBrunt and the Community Center staff, sponsored and coordinated a beautiful afternoon. Resident Joe Hughes and his band, Goldenseal, entertained guests with a song about West Long Branch that he wrote for the Centennial entitled "This Is My Home". Jacki Ebel of the Shade Tree Commission presented awards to the recipients of the Oldest Tree Contest (the Vloyanetes, Avery, West, and Hughes families).

The annual July 4 Fireworks were extra special this year with a fabulous concert by the Party Dolls coordinated by Joe DeLeonardo. The refreshments and free inflatable rides and beautiful fireworks made for a perfect day. In August resident historian Arthur Green gave two tours of the Old First Methodist Church Cemetery. Although both days were hot, Art managed to keep his audience for several hours with his interesting facts about many of the residents buried there. The tour was so successful that Art graciously offered to hold another one in October, this one ending at dusk, adding an interesting eerie-ness. His contribution didn't end there. Art also hosted two evenings entitled "The Slocum Murder Trial Presentation", a very entertaining presentation about WLB's first high profile murder in 1863.

In September, Monmouth Park was the setting for West Long Branch Day, coordinated by Tom DeBruin, which included a lovely luncheon as well as a race dedicated to the Centennial. In October, the Fire Company #1 Firemen and Ladies Auxiliary held an Open House and Chili Cook-Off. The day long event, coordinated by Jennifer Reed and Linda Cooper was attended by over 250 people who were treated to interesting displays and safety demonstrations, ladder truck bucket rides, and lots of chili!! Another wonderful event that, because of its success, is scheduled to be held again next year.

In November, the ladies of the Old First Church, who started off our year with a lovely Tea and Museum Tour, once again did an outstanding job with an Antiques Luncheon. The sell-out crowd was treated to a delicious homemade lunch, and an entertaining "Antiques Road Show" type show.

The Centennial year ended with the traditional Holiday Sing at Woolley Park in December. This event was extra special because a committee of WLB preschool children were on hand for the dedication of the Bicentennial Tree, which they will tend to for the next 100 years so they can sing around it in 2108! Christine Guido and Pam Hughes (Chair) of the Shade Tree Commission coordinated acquiring and donating the tree and monument.

Centennial member Jim Delehanty coordinated a fabulous musical treat with resident Joe Hughes and his band Goldenseal, and several talented musicians from town, who, along with Chorus Director Tom Cameron and resident carolers sang the wonderful songs of the season.

Several committee members are not mentioned above, and cannot go without mention for all their hard work and contributions. They are Mayor Janet Tucci, Janet Giersch, Perky Cameron, Dick Cooper, Jack Kearns, Maureen O'Reilly, Ruth DeBruin, Liz Foggia, Bill Deisinger, Jim Ruane, Alden and Norma West and John DeBruin. Thanks again to you all on a job well done!

— Barbara Ruane, Centennial Chairperson