Blessing of the Bikes Set for Moose Lodge Sunday

By VICTORIA FORD | May 13, 2019
Courtesy of: Angelo Sammartano

Stafford Township — The first-ever “Blessing of the Bikes: East Coast” is New Jersey’s version of Moose International’s event by the same name, which happens each May out in Illinois. Locally, the blessing will take place at the Beach Haven Moose Lodge on Route 72 in Manahawkin on Sunday, May 19, starting at 11 a.m.

Moose Rider and event organizer Angelo Sammartano explained the event will begin with a blessing by Peter Salomon, chaplain of the Toms River chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association. The blessing, which is free and open to the public, is followed by a ride through the Pines and back to the lodge by 1 p.m. for an afternoon of live music by the Drunken Clams and summer barbecue food (e.g. chicken, ribs, hot dogs) straight from the Moose kitchen.

About 15 men comprise the Moose Riders, but any and all motorcyclists may register to participate in the ride. With a pretty good weather outlook for the weekend, Sammartano said, “Everybody keeps telling me there’s probably going to be more bikes than I think, so we’ll see.”

Mostly the registration fees will cover costs; any extra will go to support Moose causes, including Mooseheart, a residential childcare facility outside Chicago, and Moosehaven, a 70-acre retirement community near Jacksonville, Fla.

The Moose organization traces its roots to 1888 and founder Henry Wilson, who established the first lodge in Louisville, Ky., to offer men an opportunity to gather socially, care for one another’s needs and celebrate life together.

Today the Loyal Order of Moose and Women of the Moose have a combined membership of over 1 million, in over 1,500 communities in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, and contribute upward of $100 million worth of community service (counting monetary donations, volunteer hours worked and miles driven) annually.  —V.F.

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