From Lisa Mainardi (with photos by Joy Yagid):
Closing Night, May 11, 2018 at The Woodland Starring Joseph Manning
The Retirement Party for Joseph Manning was a smash hit. Upon arrival at the May 11 event at The Woodland in Maplewood, guests were greeted with Playbills for Manning’s Closing Night and local photographer Joy Yagid on the Red Carpet for a “Step and Repeat” photo pp. Appetizer hour offered an assortment of cheese, crackers, olives, stuffed grape leaves, fresh fruit and pizza squares. The bar was stocked with wine, beer, soda, Shirley Temples and Dirty Shirleys.
[The party was paid for by a $40 per person charge and donations.]
Master of ceremonies Mayor DeLuca did a wonderful job with welcoming remarks. Joe’s parting gift was a Director’s chair complete with his name. A good sport, he sat on stage in his new chair as Mayor DeLuca and others honored and roasted him. Township Clerk Liz Fritzen, holding back tears, gave a speech and questioned who would cry first, her or Joe. Both appeared to well up during the night but both stayed strong. Incoming Township Administrator Sonia Viveiros, and others spoke. It was really special to see The Township Committee members past and present on the stage with Joe Manning presenting him with a resolution and heartfelt thanks.
Throughout the evening pictures of Joe’s life, family, friends, pets, and career appeared on the silver screen.
After a heartfelt Grace by Father Jim Worth, with the clinking of wine glasses, we sat down to dinner from the Reservoir Restaurant with some of Joe’s favorite dishes including Chicken Franchese, Sausage and Peppers, meatballs and stuffed shells.
Dancing and dessert followed. An expansive, elaborate Dessert Buffet included Pizzelles, Cannolis, Hazelnut Wafers, chocolate dipped glitter pretzels, metallic gold glazed sugar cookie stars, cupcakes, brownies, berry trifles, brownie parfaits, cheesecake cups and lemon curd tarts.
A photo booth offered more photo ops and an opportunity to leave messages and incriminating photos in a keepsake memoir book for Joe as well as a photo strip to take home.
An abundant Candy Bar overflowing with Kisses, Rolos, Kit Kats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Jolly Ranchers and more favorites were straight from Hershey World. As a treat, guests were given bags to fill with candy as party favors to savor long after the event.
The Core Committee for the event:
- Liz Fritzen, Township Clerk
- Melissa Mancuso, Director of Recreation and Cultural Affairs
- Ronnie Quacquarini, Program Supervisor, Department of Recreation
- Lisa Mainardi, Event Coordinator, The Woodland
- Sonia Alves-Viveiros, Township Administrator (During the planning was Assistant Township Administrator)
- Diana Davila, Executive Assistant
- Debbie Giordano, Administrative Assistant, Maplewood Police Department
- Annette DePalma, Municipal Prosecutor and
- Director of Community Development
- Chris Murray, Deputy Tax Assessor
- Many other employees and community members volunteered time and services – too many to list.
Joseph Manning was the shining star of a formal evening in an elegant ballroom filled with gold glitter, twinkling lights, masterfully mixed music, fancy appetizers, fantastic foods, delicious desserts, scrumptious candy, photo ops and picture perfect photos on the red carpet. Joseph made Maplewood a better place and a welcoming community. He will be missed!
Photos courtesy of Joy Yagid.