The chilly weather may not have felt very "spring-like", but spring fever was definitely in the air Saturday morning as hundreds of families arrived for the annual baseball/softball parade — the official kickoff of the season.
Families that crowded into New Waterlands for the start of the parade were happy that the sun was shining and the crowds quickly warmed up as they began walking the parade route that led them to Cameron Field.
The procession was led for the first time by the Columbia High School Marching Band. The band was followed by Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca and South Orange Village President Alex Torpey who rode behind them in a convertible.
Girls and boys of all ages followed behind wearing their brightly colored team shirts and caps, holding signs and banners. They were all smiles as they were cheered on by family and friends along the way. Ball players arrived at the field to the music of Mark Murphy's Music students rocking the crowd and Jack the Jackal, the mascot from the New Jersey Jackals, greeting the teams.
Kate Schmidt, Director of South Orange Recreation, greeted the crowd at Cameron Field, thanking all of those who made the day possible, with special mention to Scott Louis, director of the parade. Over 1,300 children will be participating this year and numerous people have been working hard since October to make sure that the season runs smoothly.
The National Anthem was performed by Leslie Goldman. The ceremony ended as Mayor DeLuca and Village President Torpey threw out the first pitches of the season.