From the time people arrived at for the annual Howell Day festivities it was clear it was going to be a hot day in the township.
With temperatures approaching and clearing triple digits as the day went on and severe thunderstorms bringing the day to a premature end there was plenty of fun to be had on Saturday.
Areas of the park that would normally be used as playing fields became the location for children to bounce through inflatable rides while the walkway was lined with vendors from all over the area.
A walk to the top of the hill provided residents with not only a sneak peak of the soon to open dog park but also a variety of vendors selling everything from sausage and pepper sandwiches to electric blue fruit punch.
Greg Ong, one of the people working the booth for Shiver's Ice Cream said they were excited to be part of the event for the second year. "You couldn't ask for better weather," he said standing over his cooler with frozen treats. "It's nice to have lots of other vendors in the area. It will certainly attract a lot of other people."
Ong called the day a "perfect day for ice cream," Ken Passarelli was slightly less optimistic standing behind his grill slinging sandwiches of all shapes and sizes. Having come to the event for close to two decades Passarelli said he has seen a lot of changes in the day and knew sales would not come as easily this time around. Even still there was a line at his food truck to get the items he has become so well known for after all these years.
There was also a well known local face at the Lion's Club tent as club member and Farmingdale Mayor Jay Morgan served as grill master to start the day. Even with the added heat from the grill Morgan kept his sense of humor looking at the day. "I sweat anyway because I'm fat," he said with a laugh. "I won't know if it's because it's hot or not."
The money raised through the sale of cheeseburgers, hot dogs and hamburgers among other items, he said, will help the club with its charitable efforts. That includes supporting groups like Deborah, Joshua House and the local food pantry as well as their scholarship efforts for local students.
One of the coolest places in the park was Brian Morris' Video Game Truck. With comfortable couches, a dark cool trailer and the latest video games Morris said he was expecting a good day in his hometown. "I'm sure later on when there's more people we'll get more people in there," he said.
Morris was one of several local business owners looking to help get their name out by taking part in Howell Day. Connie Schmidt Kirman of the local Kumon center said she was excited to be taking part in the day. "It's a great opportunity to meet the families that we service," she said.
Kirman said she wished she had brought one very popular item to help draw more people to her booth. "I wish I had one of the steamers," she said with a laugh. "I'd be the most popular tent here."
There were cooling stations all throughout the park which became more popular as the day went on.
Self empowerment coach Rob Imperato said he was glad to see so many people coming out to the event despite it being the hottest day of the year. "It's more determination," he said. "I hate the heat but I said it's worth it to meet the people, come out and see what they do."
Before storms rolled in that knocked out power throughout the township organizers were forced to cancel a showing of ET that was supposed to wrap up the day. While there is no planned makeup date yet for this showing there are still to see movies under the stars throughout the county.