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Happy hour is social hour!

Weekly gatherings reflect vibrant lifestyle at Pompton Plains community

Created date

July 26th, 2011

It s 4 p.m. on Wednesday, and the Woodland Commons Bistro at Cedar Crest, an Erickson Living community in Pompton Plains, N.J., is alive with chatter, music, and the sounds of ice cubes jingle-jangling in glasses. Resident Rob Evans tickles the ivories, and a crowd of people gather around him jovially singing tunes. The weekly social hour draws nearly 100 people, while the Thursday and Friday social hours in Cedar Crest s other two clubhouses attract even more all enjoying the music, the refreshments, and, most importantly, each other.

Welcoming, relaxed, ' dynamic

It s a place where people enjoy being together in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, says Marie Sprankel, who tends bar and coordinates the Belmont Clubhouse social hour Fridays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. She and her husband Bill have been involved with the Belmont social hour for seven years, since they moved from Leonia, N.J. We felt when we moved here that it would be a good way for people to get to know each other, she says. It s become a great thing. It s a chance to meet people and exchange jokes, that sort of thing. I have people tell me they wait all week for our social hour. Donna Inez, a Cedar Crest neighbor who helps tend bar at both the Belmont and Village Square social hours, agrees with Marie: It s the camaraderie, friendship, and catching up at least once a week that attracts people. Donna also says the social hours truly reflect the atmosphere and life at Cedar Crest. I find people here are more dynamic than similar communities. We are vibrant and active and really seem to be living out our years, always socializing, playing games, and enjoying each other s company, she says.

Self-propelled

Those who live at Cedar Crest not only enjoy the social hours, they also coordinate and conduct them. From purchasing to setup to tending bar to providing music, Cedar Crest resident volunteers do it all, demonstrating the vast array of talents and personalities found at the community. From Burt Stromholm, accordionist at Village Square, to Wanda Spallina, pianist at the Belmont, to Rob Evans, pianist at Woodland Commons, musical talent abounds. They play anything from holiday songs to patriotic melodies to show tunes, all well-known, while a group of people always gathers around to sing along. Music is an integral part of the social hours, Marie says.

Philanthropic fun

Aside from providing those who live at Cedar Crest an opportunity to share a drink with friends, the social hours also provide funds for the Scholars Fund. The $3 cost of a beverage keeps supplies stocked, but any surplus funds a donation to the Scholars Fund for young adults who work at the community and aspire to attend college. In the seven years we ve been involved, we ve donated $17,000, Marie says. Whether people attend the social hours to give back, meet new friends, or socialize with old ones, all seem to enjoy the light and lively hour each week.

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