Gloucester Township Day returns June 2

The annual event has served as a township staple for more than 30 years, bringing together the community while raising scholarship funds.

For the past three decades, a coalition of local residents has been raising tens of thousands dollars of every year for graduating high school seniors around the region.

Since its inception in 1986, the Gloucester Township Day Scholarship Committee, which arose under Mayor Ann. A. Mullen, has gifted nearly a $1 million in collegiate funds for students from the Black Horse Regional Pike District and other local vocational and private institutions.

The group’s annual colossal fundraising event — known as Gloucester Township Day — is scheduled for Saturday, June 2, at Veterans Park, located at 1261 Chews Landing Road. The bash will run from noon to 10 p.m. with fireworks scheduled at 9:15 p.m.

The 10-hour long extravaganza not only serves as a chance to honor the 45 winning students, but also as an opportunity to celebrate Gloucester Township.

“It’s a huge fundraising forum, but we also like to promote the township,” said Chris Dziczek, treasurer of the committee. “We’re there to promote different activities that allow the township to get involved in social and philanthropy activities.”

Encompassing nearly 100 vendors, the festival, which has raised up to $20,000 in past years, features as assortment of local organizations, businesses and food vendors.

Along with carnival rides and games, a variety of entertainment will enliven the day — from local Jersey-based bands to Highland Regional High School’s choir. For the first time, the Avalon String Band will perform, sauntering its sounds around the grounds.

The committee is seeking additional entertainers.

Along with a 50/50 raffle, a portion of the entertainment program includes presenting scholarship certificates to dozens of students.

“To be able to provide a kid with some money — we’re driven by the fact that we have been providing up to 45 scholarships, and that’s what our motive is to do every year,” Dziczek said.

Each of the 45 young adults will receive $1,000, while an additional 10 receive $100 each.

Earlier this school year, township residents who met a certain GPA and SAT/ACT requirement, as well as received acceptance to an accredited college or university, were eligible to apply for the awards. Dziczek says the committee, which is comprised of about 15 people, received 500 applications this year.

In April, Gloucester Township Council conducted a lottery drawing during one of its meetings, as the 45 winners, and additional 10 students, were selected by chance.

While Gloucester Township Day is the scholarships’ prominent source, throughout the year, the committee conducts other fundraising events, like a spring 5K Run, Designer Bag Bingo, Valentines Wine Tasting and GloBall Golf Tournament.

“It’s always our goal to finish the year awarding $45,000 — that’s been our best amount,” Dziczek said.

While Gloucester Township Day benefits high schoolers, it also fosters community in the town of nearly 65,000 residents.

Dziczek says, every year, thousands of people attend, as now, she’s seen generations returning each year.

“It brings the community together, but it’s also an opportunity for families to get together and be a part of what’s going on in the community,” she said.

Every year, the day receives support from local government, including Gloucester Township agencies, like public works, which helps manage the operation, and the police department, which conducts a Law Enforcement Against Drugs (or LEAD) presentation.

The township’s EMT services will also be serving the entire day.

“It’s a totally community effort. People go above and beyond. I think people forget sometimes the scholarship committee runs it,” Dziczek said. “But we could not do what we do without the support of everyone involved in the township, plus the people who come. This is a collaboration event as far as bringing the community together.”

For more information on attendance or contributions, contact the Gloucester Township Day Scholarship Committee at www.gtdsc.org/contact.html.