by Pete Mazzaccaro

Summer is nearly here. That means it’s time for hot weather, extended summer vacations and trips to the beach. In Chestnut Hill, it’s time again for the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s annual Pastorius Park Summer Concert Series.

That series will begin on Wednesday, June 18, with a WXPN-sponsored performance by Philly-area alt-folk group Hezekiah Jones.

In the coming weeks, we will be reporting on the series lineup and on the donations and sponsorships that continue to make the seven-week series possible.

But this week it’s worth shining a light on a group that really makes the park a venue worthy of the event: The Friends of Pastorius Park. It’s an all volunteer, nonprofit organization that pays for projects with membership dues and donations.

The Friends of Pastorius Park – FoPP for short – has done a great deal to maintain the West Chestnut Hill gem, year after year.

Recently the group repaired the “warming hut,” repairing its slate roof, installing new doors and windows and giving it a fresh paint job. The FoPP also has maintained the park pond’s filtration system. It has maintained the stage and amphitheater grounds and has even installed bat houses in park trees to help control the summer mosquito population.

On Saturday, June 7, the FoPP is hosting a spring park cleanup to counter the effects of a long winter that has littered the grounds with tree limbs and cracked rock. The park is in dire need of a good cleanup effort.

Volunteers from anywhere are welcome to participate. All you’ll need is a rake and a pair of work gloves. As an added incentive, Chestnut Hill Coffee Co. has donated coffee for workers. So be sure to arrive when the cleanup begins at 8:30 a.m. for a fresh cup.

If it rains that Saturday, the cleanup will take place the following Saturday, June 14.

Be sure to lend a hand if you have the time Saturday morning. A little help can go a long way. And when you take in a concert this summer with a picnic dinner, you’ll know you had a part in making the venue a truly great place to take in some live music.

One more announcement

Next Monday, May 26, is Memorial Day. Every year the local VFW gathers at Chestnut Hill’s three war memorials at the Water Tower, Winston Road and Buckley Park for short ceremonies commemorating local soldiers who lost their lives in World Wars I and II and Vietnam.

I wrote in this space some time ago that the morning event is a good way to bring some focus to the holiday – to take a moment or two to think about more than that afternoon’s barbecue. I think it’s worth repeating here: It’s a good event to attend, especially with children (at least those old enough to not be frightened by the ceremonial rifle shots that conclude each short memorial speech). The ceremony begins at Buckley Park at 11 a.m. Be sure to take a moment out of the day to attend.