HAMILTON TOWNSHIP - The township is celebrating its big 2-0-0 this weekend and everybody's invited.
Organizers said they expect up to 5,000 people at Lake Lenape Park both today and Sunday as the township holds its bicentennial Hometown Celebration.
Food and games for kids are planned, as well as music and other festivities such as a classic car show and a screening of the movie "Oz the Great and Powerful" today and a battle of the bands and fireworks on Sunday.
Other events include karaoke, rides for children and a magic show.
Today's car show is expected to attract 50 cars, said Arlene Blosch, the event coordinator. These include a 1931 Ford Model A and two Amphicars, 1960s-era cars that also functioned as boats.
"It's going to be quite busy," Blosch said.
And with all the local input, association Treasurer John DellaVecchia said, "It's a total community event."
The two-day event is an outgrowth of the annual Hometown Celebration, hosted by the Mays Landing Merchants Association. "It just got huge when we connected to the 200th anniversary of the township," explained John Kurtz, association president.
Last-minute planning Friday also included fixing some surprise problems.
Blosch said an expected dunk tank had problems and could not be used this weekend. So instead they improvised and plan to install boards for kids to draw on instead.
"It's the kinds of things that you do last minute," Blosch said. "We're just in last-minute status now."
Throughout the park, people prepared for the weekend.
Crews from Petrosh's Big Top hammered in spikes and raised a set of tents.
In another part of the park, Greg Hauser, 50, and his son Jake Hauser, 18, towed their 11-foot grill into place and set it up.
The two residents of the Erma section of Lower Township plan to sell sausages and sauerkraut to fairgoers.
"You come by (today) and I'll feed you this Hungarian sausage and there's nothing like it," Greg Hauser said.
Organizers also prayed for good weather, as the event is coming on the one-year anniversary of the powerful and damaging derecho thunderstorms.
"It's going to be quite big," said Roger Silva, deputy mayor, as he left the fairgrounds Friday with Michael S. Jacobs, township administrator.
"We've got a lot of great events," Silva said. "Let's hope the weather holds."
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