More than 1,000 North Bergen residents ended their summer on a high note, packing the Schuetzen Park Banquet Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 18 for the all-day Senior Citizen Picnic.
The disc jockey played classics from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, fueling the seniors’ feet and hosting a dance contest.
“The food was good and the service was good,” said Dora Taschler, 85, of 73rd Street.
But what Taschler really enjoyed was the dancing portion.
“A lot of people joined in and had a good time out,” she said.
Liking it all
"The senior picnic has grown into one of North Bergen's most important annual events, where we take time to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of our senior citizens and honor them for all that they have done,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco. “Seniors deserve this special day and we are proud to provide it for them.”
The event started about 10 a.m., and concluded about 3 p.m. In between, there was music, dancing, raffles, and other activities.
Food included hot dogs, sandwiches, corn on the cob, cakes, cookies, and ice cream, as well as beer, wine, coffee, and soft drinks.
Pat Notholt liked everything the event had to offer.
“We socialized, we did a little dancing, and a lot of eating,” she said.
To her, the dancing was also the highlight. Instead of leaving at 3 p.m., Pat and her friends lingered for contest results.
“We stayed and watched all the dancers, and who won,” she said. “Dancing is always fun, even if you’re not participating.”
Janet Scarnecchia of Grand Avenue was one of those winners, taking home a trophy from the dance contest.
“Every year it keeps getting better and better,” she said of the picnic.
State, county, and local officials spoke, including Assemblyman Vincent Prieto and Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, Hudson County Surrogate Don De Leo, and Commissioner Theresa Ferraro.
Other officials in attendance included Freeholder Tom Liggio, Township Administrator Chris Pianese, Commissioners Frank Gargiulo, Hugo Cabrera, and Allen Pascual, Housing Authority Executive Director Diane Pierano-Ingvaldsen, and Police Chief Robert Dowd.
Sacco said the day was a good one because of the efforts of a lot of people.
“I would like to thank the seniors for attending and all the staff and volunteers for making the picnic a success," he said.
The township provided transportation for many of the seniors who attended. The event has been held annually since 1992.
Other senior activities
The township sponsors numerous activities throughout the year for seniors, including trips to casinos, shopping malls, and restaurants. There are also many programs operated out of the township's Nutrition Center on 45th Street, including Bingo, exercise classes, and Meals on Wheels.
“Mayor Sacco's administration places a strong emphasis on taking care of North Bergen's senior citizens and providing them with programs, events and services,” said township spokesman Philip Swibinski. “Seniors are the backbone of North Bergen.”
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.