Photos: Kite Day at Weequahic Park 2014
05/08/2014 - 06:00 AM | by Peter Wolf

Photos: Kite Day at Weequahic Park 2014

Clear skies, favorable winds, free kites, food and family fun were plenty to entice some 600 parents and kids to Weequahic Park in Newark last Saturday for the 2nd Annual Let's Fly Kites event.

Organizers were pleased not only by the turnout but also by the messages the day sent. "It shows how the community can come together for the common good and have great fun," said Doug Freeman, president of the Weequahic Park Sports Authority (WPSA), the coordinator of Let's Fly Kites.

According to Freeman, WPSA has adopted the Let's Move! national initiative to create a Let's Move! healthy park.

Representatives of political candidates had tables with information and giveaways and other organizations from the city.

Freeman said donations from the community defrayed the cost of the 530 kites that were handed out to kids at no charge. Attendees lunched on hot dogs - more than 700 were served -- and bottled water during the event, which ran from noon to 3 p.m. Kids lined up to take their turn in a large, multi-colored bouncer.

Freeman thanked Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo for providing signage and Dan Salvante, director of the Essex County Dept, of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs, for his office's assistance.

The field where Let's Fly Kites took place is bounded by Weequahic Lake - the largest lake in Essex County -- and Dayton Street. At one time, the oval field was a racetrack complete with a covered grandstand. In 1872, President Ulysses Grant, traveled from Washington to see the horses run there.

The park's rubberized jogging path was once a bridle path, and horses were part of the Let's Fly Kites festivities, too. Riders from Cowboy's Ranch House Cookies showed up in full regalia and took a spin around the park.

"We had many individuals and organizations making donations to help make this day a great success," Freeman said. "In particular, I'd like to thank City National Bank and Applebee's for their support."

Joy Freeman, Doug's wife, echoed what many of the day's revelers might have been thinking: "I grew up across the street from the park but hardly ever visited it. Today, I don't live near the park but I'm here all the time. I just love it."

Photos and copyright by Peter Wolf.

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