LANDING – A couple thousand people attended the Lake Hopatcong Foundation’s first Lake Hopatcong Block Party at Hopatcong State Park, Saturday, May 10. The event featured over 150 food, craft, antique, local business vendors, nonprofit booths, three local bands, multiple lake-related demonstrations, and a children’s play area.
Renowned artist Greg Hildebrandt, a resident of Hopatcong known for his Star Wars poster illustration, Lord of the Rings calendars and pinup illustrations, was painting a historical scene during the event. When completed, the large painting will be auctioned off at the Foundation’s Silent Auction and Gala in July.
The Block Party, an event the Foundation hopes to offer yearly, is a way “to build a sense of community around the lake,” said Foundation president Jessica Murphy.
For guests, though, it was an enjoyable day at the state park with beautiful views of Lake Hopatcong, a chance to connect with local businesses and neighbors, and a little something to do for everyone.
“It’s a fun day,” said Josh Brunner, 11, from Roxbury. “There are some interesting things here,” he said mentioning the beekeeper and the bottle cap artist. And, he perked up when told of the radio control model boats on display.
Throughout the day various demonstrations were held along the shoreline, including a fishing demonstration led by Knee Deep Club president Ed Mackin. Lake Hopatcong Marine offered a wakeboard demonstration just offshore and Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery was on hand to educate people about the area’s variety of fresh water fish.
“Mother Nature mostly cooperated with us; after a terrible forecast, we were thrilled to see sunshine as festivities were beginning,” said Murphy. “Of course, we had a couple of rainstorms come in, but they didn’t bring down any of the community’s enthusiasm. Between the sponsors, the volunteers, the vendors, the groups, the performers, and the visitors, we couldn’t have asked for a better group or a more fun and exciting day to celebrate Lake Hopatcong.”