Paramus to mark its 100th year with big turkeys, a drive-in movie and maybe a world record

The Paramus Centennial Committee wanted to do something unique to launch months of activities marking the 100th anniversary of the borough's founding in 1922.

Its solution? A video parodying the opening of the 1960s sitcom "Green Acres" that showcases different areas around town and how they’ve changed.

It stars Mayor Richard LaBarbiera riding a tractor, leading a toast at the Orange Lantern bar and belting out lyrics like "Malls! Spreading out so far and wide!" Greg Nalenik, a retired teacher from Eastbrook Middle School, came up with the lyrics.

“We wanted to do a video that combined the new with the old,” said Rosa Rizzolo, a member of the committee that directed the video. It can be viewed on the Paramus 100 Years channel on YouTube.

The borough will be celebrating the anniversary with activities including art displays with turkeys, a drive-in movie, a mock first mayor and council meeting and even a world record attempt.

Paramus was officially incorporated as a borough on March 2, 1922, ratified in a referendum on April 4, 1922.

The committee has set up a Facebook page, where it is highlighting a borough department each week and looking at its past, present and future.

Some events are still in the early planning stages, such as a proposal to attempt a world record for the most socks collected during a certain time period in April. The socks would be donated to community groups for people in need.

On April 4, a council meeting will be held at the Charles E. Reid Branch Library, which was the original Borough Hall. The meeting will replicate what the first-ever meeting of the borough might have looked like.

There will also be a scavenger hunt in May and a time capsule created near the end of the school year. Rizzolo said she's hopeful that local students can get involved with planning the time capsule.

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The committee is selling 5-foot-tall turkey statues to sponsors. Local artists will paint the turkeys, which will eventually be showcased at Garden State Plaza and all around town, with residents encouraged to find them and post them on social media.

Historians say the name Paramus is derived from the Lenni Lenape word “peramsepuss,” translated as “land of the wild turkeys.” A wild turkey statue can be found in the Paramus Park mall.

A yearbook will be created in the style of a book that was done in 1972, Rizzolo said.

The committee is also looking for submissions of old photos or memorabilia to display during the months of celebrations. (Contact the committee at There's also an event and display with the Paramus Fritz Behnke Historical Museum in the works.

Garden State Plaza will host a drive-in movie showing 1993's "The Coneheads," which stars Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin as parents of an alien family that moves to Paramus. In October, the mall will host a black-tie event.

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Rizzolo said she's hopeful that all the events celebrating Paramus' past will help keep traditions alive in the community's children and grandchildren.

"Everything we're doing today is what the past did for us," she said. "In order for the traditions of Paramus to continue, you need us. We have to work together and have pride in Paramus."

For more information about the Paramus centennial celebration, visit or

Stephanie Noda is a local reporter for For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.


Twitter: @snoda11

This article originally appeared on Paramus malls, schools will help celebrate 100th anniversary