ALF is quintessential small town America

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:17

    WEST MILFORD-Thousands of people gathered here Oct. 9 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the installation the town's first traffic light at Union Valley and Marshall Hill Roads. Aptly called the Autumn Lights Festival, the celebration was observed at various locations. Some events took place at Town Hall, West Milford Museum, Pinecliff Lake, Bearfort Shopping Village, Greenwood Lake Airport and Long Pond Ironworks. Town Hall served as the focal point for the fest. Shuttle buses made transportation from one point to another more accessible. Across from Town Hall, at the West Milford Museum, local historians answered questions about the town's history. Adrian Birdsall a member of the Museum Heritage Committee and lifelong resident of West Milford expresses his opinion on Autumn Lights, "I like Autumn Lights but it's a little strange celebrating a traffic light for 10 years. I find it very funny. How many towns do you know that celebrate a traffic light?" Pinecliff Lake hosted an Oktoberfest with traditional German fare, a carnival with rides and a 5K to benefit Juvenile Diabetes. Donna Schioscia of West Milford, who volunteered with her two children David, 15, and Jessica ,13. Donna said: "This is the ‘funnest' day of the year and I wanted my children to experience giving back to the community." Some of the rides children enjoyed were a shark slide, a moon-walk, a flight simulator, and a pony carousel. When asked what his favorite ride was Taylor Scheuring, 3, of West Milford replied: "The ponies, I love them." Don Weis who ran the 5K foot race around Pinecliff Lake in the morning said he couldn't think of a better reason or place for a race. "Raising money for an important cause, juvenile diabetes and running around Pinecliff was beautiful. This festival really brings the community together." At Bearfort Shopping Village people shopped outdoors while listening to live music. Jayson Clarke a member of the band "Outside Influence" said, "We volunteered to play here at Bearfort because we wanted to help the community. We are lifelong residents of West Milford and wanted to help people enjoy Autumn Lights." The Greenwood Lake Pilot's Association sponsored a "Young Eagles Flight." Lyn Van Riper, vice president of the Greenwood Lake Pilot's association said: "We wanted to give children ages eight to 18 a chance to fly. They take a short 15 minute flight and we show them their house and various landmarks in town. Kimberly D'Arrigoage, 9, of Wanaque, who flew with her dog TJ said, " I really liked the bumps, the people looked like ants and the town looks like the world's biggest train set." Long Pond Ironworks held guided walking tours for the fest. Susan Deeks of West Milford is a volunteer at Long Pond. "We've been doing Autumn Lights since the beginning. Long Pond is part of West Milford and we do anything we can to support the town." Greg Lucarelli of West Milford attended the festivities in town and then took a guided walking tour at Long Pond. "We went to the festivities in town and then came to Long Pond to experience and learn about Early American history right here in our backyard. There really is something for everyone at Autumn Lights. we made an afternoon of it, and it's great to see the community come together for this special day." Laurie Ardis, festival chairwoman, said: "This is a great day for members of the community. It absolutely brings everyone together, civic organizations, religious groups, businesses, government and local residents "Ten years ago I said if we ever get a traffic light we'll have to throw the biggest party ever, and 10 years later the rest is Autumn Lights history. It gets better every year." Asked if such a celebration was quintessential small town America, she replied: "That's a nice way of putting it. Just don't call us hicks," chuckled Ardis.