Easter party a community tradition since 1959

NEIGHBORS

April 15, 2001|By Christina Bittner | Christina Bittner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IN THESE hectic days of two-income families and corporate mergers, it is rare to find a business or civic association that is truly a part of the community - associations that are there if you need them and businesses that have a kind word for their neighbors.

Brooklyn Park is fortunate to have a local association and a business like that, and they have been demonstrating it every Easter for decades.

Since 1959, Manny and Dino Spanomanolis, owners of the Club 4100 restaurant, and the Brooklyn Lions Club have joined to give Brooklyn Park and neighboring communities the biggest and best Easter party anyone could hope for.

As always, this year's party will be held Easter Sunday - today - from noon to 3 p.m., on the restaurant property at 4118 Fourth St. in Brooklyn Heights.

Manny Spanomanolis said the party was originally held at the old Easter Seals Center on Fourth Street. Every year it grew larger. Now the parents of more than 1,000 children look forward to watching their offspring enjoy pony rides, amusement rides and having their pictures taken with the Easter Bunny - just as they did a generation ago.

"The place is usually mobbed, said David Adams, president of the Brooklyn Lions Club. "The county police block off the street so there is enough room. The Lions provide the manpower; we distribute the eggs, serve the soft drinks and take the photographs.

"Last year, we gave away over 200 photographs. The Club 4100 does everything else. I've been doing this for six years, and I look forward to it every year; all of us do. You see families coming right from church and the children all decked out in their Easter garb. It's really nice. And we have had good weather every year."

Adams said that his first visit to the Easter party is what encouraged him to join the Lions. "I work in Brooklyn, and my brother is a member. I had doubts about it. I went to the Easter party and really enjoyed it and that's when I joined.

"It's a great group of guys and ladies who share the same ambition to help people. I live in Dundalk, and it doesn't matter where you help people just as long as you help them," he said.

This year, the Lions and the Spanomanolis brothers appear to have outdone themselves. Along with the rides and picture-taking, there will be clowns, cartoon characters and a visit from the Oriole Bird.

You could even meet a Baltimore Colts legend. "Johnny Unitas stops by every year when he's in town. You really have to see this to believe it. We have local celebrities and politicians. Everyone has a big-time ball," said Manny.

Residents can keep the tradition alive and show their thanks to the Lions and the Spanomanolis brothers by paying a visit. If you've never been, this could be a tradition for you as well.

Foster grandparents

The Olde Brooklyn Park Improvement Association will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Brooklyn Park Elementary School at 14th Avenue and Morgan Road.

The speaker will be Melissa Klein, director of the county foster grandparents program.

Foster grandparents are volunteers who serve as a mentor, tutor or friend to a child who might not have a grandparent of his or her own. Klein will provide information on opportunities in the program for those ages 60 and older at Brooklyn Park Middle School.

Information: 410-636-3269 or 410-636-0352.

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