"We definitely try to offer a little bit of everything for everyone," said Barone, whose summer recreation program kicks off Tuesday with a litany of events and activities, including daily events at the town's four park sites. "We try as best as we can to keep everyone happy."
Each of the town's parks is offering arts and crafts and other fun activities each day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is plenty of adult supervision at each site and free lunches are also provided daily.
"There is also the shower at each park for the kids to play in and keep cool," Barone said. "The games and arts and crafts stop at 3 p.m., but we can keep the showers open an extra hour or two, depending on the hot weather."
While the old standards, like the popular eating contests, such as watermelon eating (Wednesday, July 28 at Weehawken Stadium at 6:30 p.m. for kids ages 3 through 12), pie-eating (Wednesday, August 4, same site, time and ages) and hot dog-eating frenzy (Wednesday, August 11, at 7 p.m. for kids 10-15), remain on the schedule, Barone's staff has introduced new programs that are bound to attract more youngsters, especially young females.
"We're trying a few things to attract female sports enthusiasts, hopefully to have their interests continue when they go on to high school," Barone said. "We're trying to get a draw on the high school level."
So this year, the Weehawken Recreation program is offering two-week soccer, volleyball and basketball mini-camps (which are being called clinics) that will give young ladies the chance to learn the basic fundamentals in all three sports.
The soccer clinics, under the instruction of high school coach Cecily Hug, will run from Tuesday through July 16 for girls ages 6 through 9 at Arricale Field between 1 and 3 p.m. The older girls (ages 10 through 15) will get their kicks July 19 through July 30 at Weehawken Stadium from 1 to 3 p.m.
The basketball clinics for girls will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer. Girls ages 5 to 7 will go from 9 to 10:30 a.m., with girls ages 8 to 12 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and girls ages 13 to 15 will go from 1 to 2:30 p.m., all in the high school gymnasium.
Volleyball clinics for girls will take place on Mondays and Wednesdays, from July 19 through August 11. Again, with age restraints in mind, the girls ages 8 to12 will go from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and the girls ages 13 to 15 will go from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., also at the high school gym.
"We'll see if these programs bring more interest to the high school levels," Barone said.
One of the more popular new events last summer was the institution of free golf clinics. Taught by Weehawken High School golf coaches Carnig Nersessian and Bob Zucconi, Weehawken youngsters were introduced to the sport of golf for the first time. The lessons seemed to pay off, because in only its second year of operation, the Weehawken golf team actually won five matches in 2004.
This year, the golf program will be expanded to include trips for the more experienced golfers to play regular rounds of golf.
The lessons for beginners will continue at the Edgewater Driving Range on Tuesdays, beginning July 20 and going through August 10.
The two-hour sessions (9 a.m. to 11 a.m.) are designed to help youngsters learn more about golf. Transportation to and from the driving range is provided.
The township once again has worked out a deal with both Secaucus and Palisades Park for residents to be able to use the municipal pools in both towns at reduced rates.
Residents of Weehawken can now use either the Secaucus pool or the Palisades Park pool for the summer at rates lower than what those pools normally charge for non-residents.
Youngsters can also go to the West New York municipal pool, free of charge, as part of the Weehawken Recreation program. The youngsters are transported to the pool several times during the week from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
There are also the typical recreation events, like basketball leagues for boys, girls and men. There will also be basketball clinics and contests throughout the summer.
There will also be contests for those who are not athletically inclined, like the model boat contest (Aug. 2), the jigsaw puzzle (July 27) and the amateur photo contest (Aug. 10), all of which are held at the Weehawken Free Public Library.
The recreation department has also scheduled a series of day trips, to the Battleship New Jersey (July 16), to the Bronx Zoo (July 21), Swartswood State Park (July 20), Island Beach (July 26) and High Point State Park (Aug. 12). All of those aforementioned trips are free of charge.
There are also trips to certain fun spots that require a co-payment, like the Yates Musical Theater (July 14), Tomahawk Lake (July 28), Point Pleasant Beach and Boardwalk (Aug. 11), Wild West City (Aug. 18) and a New York Yankees game on August 22. All those trips require a $5 payment. The Yankee game is limited to 100 people, so those interested are asked to register as soon as possible.
For adults, the town offers yoga and tai-chi classes, as well as open gym and open weight room sessions at the high school.
The summer fun will come to an unofficial close on Wednesday, Aug. 28, when the fourth annual End of Summer Bash takes place, from 6 to 9 p.m., complete with tons of games, like a water balloon toss and a super soaker shooting contest, as well as free food and refreshments. Nearly 800 youngsters attended the event last year.
"We offer a full slate of activities throughout the summer and it culminates with that Summer Bash," Barone said. "It's a good way for the summer to draw to a close."
And most of the activities and events, other than the field trips, are free of charge.
"We try to cover everyone and offer something for everyone," Barone said.
"We offer a broad range of activities, from children through adults," Weehawken Mayor Turner said. "I think we offer the largest variety of events and activities than any other town that I'm familiar with. We have a well rounded department and everything is well organized. Not only are our programs fun, but they're also safe."
Safety and fun: What everyone wants for the summer months ahead.
The full summer recreation schedule of events will be distributed throughout Weehawken this weekend in a promotional flier, but can also be found on the Weehawken website, which is www.weehawken-nj.us.