Pine Lake Park Clubhouse members are preparing to celebrate the historic structure's 86th birthday this weekend with a chili cook-off and carnival.
Located on Morningside and 8th Avenues, the log cabin clubhouse is the last historic building remaining in Manchester, according to Grace Peck, president of the Pine Lake Park Taxpayers' Association. Organizers will celebrate the building on Sunday, July 8, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"It has enormous historical significance to both the community and history in general," said Peck, who has been with the nonprofit association for 16 years, six of those as its president. "We are the only community with an 85 year old log cabin as it's clubhouse and we are proud and honored that our forefathers left it to us to watch over."
To help spread the word about the clubhouse and its significance to the township, about six years ago the organization's board of directors formed plans to hold yearly carnivals.
"A carnival would bring folks out to have a good time and let them visit the clubhouse and see what goes on here," said Peck, who along with Vice President Deidre Morales, have organized the event with the help of neighbors.
Boy Scout Troop 452, which uses the clubhouse as a meeting space, will pitch in to run games, sell popcorn and help prepare for the carnival. Pine Lake Park resident Ray Rudolph and his band have volunteered to perform. Toms River amusement company Party on with Natalie donated a moon bounce to the carnival, according to Peck.
Volunteers make the organization run — last year, about 20 residents donated their time at the carnival, which was visited by over 100 locals. Admittance to the carnival is free; tickets can be purchased for rides and games, and food will be available for purchase.
"The directors are all volunteers and donate countless man hours to the restoration and preservation of this great old building," Peck said.
Last year, Mike Borris, a life-long Pine Lake Park resident, edged out six other contestants to win the cook-off with his "green chili" creation.
The Taxpayers' Association typically hosts eight to 10 fundraising events annually, including Halloween, Easter and Christmas celebrations, Peck said. Memberships and clubhouse rentals also help to support the organization.
More information about the clubhouse is available through the organization's website. Manchester Patch photos from last year's carnival are available here.