“It’s a day of pride for the borough,” said Hopatcong Mayor Sylvia Petillo about the fifth annual Hopatcong Days festivities today at Modick Park and Maxim Glen Park.
The three day event, including Friday night’s Miss Hopatcong competition and Sunday’s Church Service in the Park and afternoon softball game, was highlighted by Saturday’s mid-day events. The day began with a parade from St. Jude’s Church to Modick Park where the rest of the festivities came into full swing just after 12 noon. At dark, “The Goonies” was shown on the grass at Maxim Glen park.
By the end of the day, about 2000 people made their way to the parks to help celebrate and participate in the day’s events, including a hot dog eating contest and the 16th annual Wagner Family Soap Box Derby.
The derby began when the Wagner family began hosting Soap Box races 16 years ago. According to Mayor Petillo, those yearly races lead directly to the birth of Hopatcong Days. This year 10 local youngsters participated in the soap box derby with spectators lining Chincopee Ave. along Modick Park to view the action.
Local resident Jose Negron was the winner of the annual hot dog eating contest, downing 15 dogs, including buns in 30 minutes, and beating the old record of 13. Negron was in second place for the first 20 minutes of the contest behind 18-year-old Mike Mahoney from Roxbury. Mahoney was on track to shatter the old record but could not keep down the 16 dogs he had ingested and therefore was disqualified from the competition. That opened the door for Negron, who had to get to 15 to win the $100 prize.
Alexis Breheny, Miss Hopatcong 2012
At the CERT dunk tank, Joshua Schneider throws a softball at the target to try to dunk Larry Platoni. Photo: Karen Fucito
Organizations of all sorts participated in today’s celebration including area sports teams, church groups, scout troops, the Woman’s Club, the Hopatcong Education Association, CERT and government agencies.
“When I became mayor 5 years ago we joined forces with the Hopatcong Business League and launched Hopatcong Days. It grows bigger every year,” said Mayor Petillo, looking around at all the activities going on in the park.
Kids stayed cool on the blow-up water slide. Photo: Karen Fucito
Max Schuman wins his first race against Ryan Hughes in Soap Box racing action. Photo: Karen Fucito
Samantha Schuman has a commanding lead over Loretta Wall in Soap Box racing action. Photo: Karen Fucito
Mike Wagner waves the green flag at the bottom of the hill to start a Soap Box race. Photo: Karen Fucito
Tyler Crowley crosses the finish line just ahead of Jackson Certo in Soap Box racing action. Photo: Karen Fucito
Six men participated in the hot dog eating contest this year. Photo: Karen Fucito
Mike Mahoney, 18 from Roxbury, gets out to an early lead in the hot dog eating contest. Photo: Karen Fucito
Jose Negron gets encouragement from young friend Katelyn Kowal. Photo: Karen Fucito
Kids enjoyed a portable rock-climbing wall. Photo: Karen Fucito
Jenny Myer gets some help from Samantha Corujo with a heavy mallet at the strongman exhibit. Photo: Karen Fucito
The Pardun family; Mike, Tracy and Raven, walk the midway. Photo: Karen Fucito
The park benches along the path in Modick Park were filled with weary adults. Photo: Karen Fucito