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That’s entertainment!

Social opportunities abound on Pompton Plains campus

Created date

April 26th, 2011

Any night of the week, Cedar Crest s living rooms buzz with activity. One person plays the piano while others sing along. A foursome plays cards at a nearby table. Yet another person sits concentrating on a jigsaw puzzle while listening to music and chatter. Down the hall, a birthday party comes to a close in the private dining room. The Pompton Plains community offers a wide array of ways to stay social, including the Special Events Planning Committee, which turns nine this year. Social events aren t just for fun; they help new neighbors feel welcome and at home.

Social benefits

Staying social keeps you happy and live; it keeps you motivated and young, says Ann Verrico, who has participated on the Special Events Planning Committee for the last seven years. For people who have recently moved to the community, the committee s events provide a great opportunity to meet neighbors and get acclimated with the community, says founding member Ruth Blocher. The committee, whose mission is to promote socialization among residents, plans several events throughout the year, including two upcoming patio socials in June and August, Breakfast with Santa during the holidays, a New Year s Eve party, and a St. Patrick s Day party. The group s benefits reach beyond newcomers, however. For Verrico, who has lived at Cedar Crest for eight years, the best part about community events comes with the cleanup. I love being able to entertain and not having to clean up, she says. Though the committee plans each event, the community s catering and dining staff cooks and cleans, taking the unenjoyable parts of entertaining out of the equation. I ve always enjoyed entertaining and having company over, says committee member Ruth Lemakos. Here it s the same way [as it was at our house]. We have parties and socials and other entertainment regularly.

Room for entertaining

Lemakos lives in a one-bedroom, Edison-style apartment home overlooking the mountainside. She frequently entertains up to five people, and each holiday season she displays a winter village for guests and neighbors to see. In general, this is the perfect place for me to live right now, she says. I m very healthy, and I enjoy doing lots of things. I think people wait too long to move here, and they can t enjoy everything that s available here. Lemakos not only participates with the Special Events Planning Committee and entertains in her home, she also bartends at weekly happy hours in the Village Square Clubhouse, takes piano lessons, and attends movie nights in the community s Performing Arts Center. You don t have to just sit in your home when you move here. There s plenty to do, she says. Fellow committee member Millie Vichiconti hosts six family members for Thanksgiving dinner in her two-bedroom apartment. Vichiconti, whose husband was in politics before retiring, says, I did a fair amount of entertaining before moving here. Vichiconti says Cedar Crest even has enough activities to entertain her eight-year-old granddaughter for an entire weekend. We go to mass in the chapel, then we have dinner in the cafe with my friends, and then we go swimming, she says. Vichiconti moved to Cedar Crest from Franklin Lakes, N.J., nine years ago and quickly joined the committee. Since then, she has enjoyed participating in special events. We work very well together and put on fun, well-attended events, she says.

Upcoming events

Next month the Special Events Planning Committee will kick off its summer season with its first patio social of 2011 on Friday, June 17, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The social will take place on the patio outside of the Mountainside Cafe, near the glass-enclosed swimming pool. In the event of rain, the social will move inside to the Mountainside Cafe. We are looking forward to this event. The patio socials are well attended, Vichiconti says. The next patio social will be held Friday, August 26, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., in the same location.