FOIP hosts annual Father’s Day Cookout in Irvington Park

Photo by Chris Sykes
South Award Councilwoman and Friend of Irvington Park Sandy Jones, right, serves a hungry young man on Saturday, June 16, during the FOIP annual pre-Father’s Day Cookout.

IRVINGTON, NJ — Mayor Tony Vauss joined Omar Bilal Beasley, South Ward Councilwoman Sandy Jones and other Friends of Irvington Park at the annual Father’s Day Cookout at the D. Bilal Beasley Community Center in Irvington Park on Saturday, June 16.

“Today, we’re here for the Friends of Irvington Park annual Father’s Day Cookout,” Vauss said. As you can see, the park is crowded. We have assorted people up there on the basketball court, playing basketball. We’ve got our police, our fire here; a lot of employees. It’s a family environment. I’m out here with my son and my son’s son, chasing him around here. That’s why I’m tired.”

But Vauss said it was a good kind of tired, because he got to spend some quality time with his son, Anthony Vauss Jr., and grandson in Irvington Park, where the Friends group makes an effort to organize events and activities.

“I’ve actually been a member of the Friends of Irvington Park ever since we came up with the concept and started working with the county to make improvements to this park,” said Vauss on Saturday, June 16. “The seniors have lunch in the D. Bilal Beasley Center every day of the week. The festivities here is just amazing and we want to keep it going and have people enjoy Irvington.”

Vauss Jr. said he was definitely enjoying the park, along with his father and son. He said he especially enjoyed the challenge of climbing to the top of the new rope obstacle that towers over the new playground area there.

“He climbed all the way to the top and then couldn’t get back down,” said the mayor. “It’s tiring to climb up there. It’s a little difficult, because once you get up there, now you gotta go through the maze to get back down.”

His son agreed about the rope obstacle and also agreed with his father’s sentiments about the true meaning of Father’s Day.

“It’s all about spending time” said the mayor on Saturday, June 16. “It’s all about making memories and doing the best you can, man. That’s what Father’s Day is all about.”

Beasley and Jones both agreed with the Vauss fathers.

“I’m still the grandmaster of the Garden State Grand Lodge,” said Beasley on Saturday, June 16. “Councilwoman Sandy Jones is my partner and we’re here at our annual Father’s Day Cookout and, as you can see, everybody’s enjoying themselves. We believe that, in order for a community to come together as one, we’ve got to find a common denominator, and that’s food. We want to say, ‘Happy Father’s Day’ to all those that are here and those that couldn’t make it, those that are here with us spiritually, and those that are gone but they’re forever in our hearts.”

Jones said there was a sign that Beasley’s deceased father, D. Bilal Beasley, and all the others like him who are “gone” were present at the  annual Father’s Day Cookout in spirit.

“God was nice enough to give us an excellent day,” said Jones on Saturday, June 16. “Tomorrow’s going to be different, but today was an excellent day for a Father’s Day cookout. We want to say, ‘Happy Father’s Day’ to all the fathers and others, including uncles, teachers, coaches, mentors and friends, that are serving as caregivers and surrogate fathers for the children in their lives that need them. It really does take a village to raise a child and all of our children in our communities.”