The following press release was issued by the New Jersey Recreation and Park Association
PRINCETON, NJ – Middletown Recreation was presented the Excellence in Special Event Programming Award for Middletown 350 at the New Jersey Recreation and Park Association (NJRPA) Annual Awards Dinner in Atlantic City. Janet Dellett, Director of Recreation, was present on Tuesday, March 7th to accept this award.
Birthdays are always a great reason to celebrate, but Middletown Mayor Stephanie Murray knew that a 350th birthday celebration had to be monumental. To make her vision a reality, the Middletown Recreation Department partnered with the Middletown Township Cultural & Arts Council and the Township to present an amazing and unique year-long special event celebration that touched the entire community.
"Middletown 350" was funded through a gift shop that sold memorabilia such as pins, passports, ornaments, shirts and personalized bricks, as well as selling banners that lined Kings Highway and Church Street in the Historic Middletown Village. Other portions of the year-long event were funded by the Middletown Township Cultural & Arts Council and the regular operating budget of the Township. A formal gala was held and the ticket sales helped generate additional revenue for the celebration.
"Our 350th year celebration was a proud testament to the love of this community," said Mayor Stephanie Murray. "Some of the major events to honor this special anniversary included fireworks, a parade, a gala, time capsule burial, and the erection of a monument. We even had a cake fashioned after Middletown landmarks to feed 10,000!"
The “Middletown 350” celebration was promoted through social media such as Facebook and the Public Information Officer who set up calendars of events and distributed press releases. Middletown Recreation worked jointly with the local schools to create interest among students. The celebration started with a “350 Passport and Guide to Middletown Township” that mapped out the 42-square mile township into quadrants providing the history along the way. The Passport offered fun ways that families could learn about “Middletown 350”. A diverse series of more than 40 community activities were planned. The Middletown Arts Center and other Township buildings displayed artifacts and memorabilia that were collected and archived by town historians. There was a Colonial Tea Party in a park and open house activities at all the firehouses. Hundreds of people and organizations worked together to make “Middletown 350” a reality.
About the New Jersey Recreation and Park Association
The New Jersey Recreation and Park Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting parks and recreation; enhancing the professional development of its members; advocating sound policy and stewardship related to parks, recreation, resource management, and leisure services; and increasing awareness of the value of play and preservation of the environment to interested citizens and the public.
The purpose of the New Jersey Recreation and Park Association’s Awards Program is to honor and identify dedicated leaders, employees, and volunteers in the field of Parks and Recreation and to recognize the State’s outstanding Recreation and Park agencies for excellence in programming, publicity and facility design. The goal of the Awards Program is to focus State attention on the achievement of Park and Recreation agencies, to recognize the continuing efforts of staff and volunteers, and to acknowledge support extended by member agencies.