A ONCE-IN-A-CENTURY NIGHT IN FAIR HAVEN

Fair Haven’s newly renovated Bicentennial Hall, aka Fisk Chapel, is among the historical landmarks that will play a key role in the borough’s centennial. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

Its 1.7 square miles boast some of the oldest homes on the greater Red Bank Green, and a classic small-town vibe that’s lamentably lacking in much of stripmall America  — but some may be surprised to learn that Fair Haven, New Jersey isn’t a day over 100.

Carved from the former Shrewsbury Township and officially incorporated in March of 1912 (the current borders, adjusted with neighboring Red Bank, date back just a little more than 50 years), the still-young borough that brought us the area’s most iconic Firemen’s Fair (and served as home field for the legendary Vince Lombardi) is scarcely too old to party in style. And this weekend, Fair Haven throws itself a “Night of the Century” celebration that promises to draw “well over a one-hundred neighbors, local business owners and community leaders who love Fair Haven.”

Scheduled for Saturday night at the Raven and the Peach restaurant on River Road, The Party That Happens Only Once Every Hundred Years is being touted as “a very special occasion for everyone who contributes to the life of this town,” in the words of Centennial Gala co-chair Christine Burke Eskwitt.

With newly sworn-in Mayor Ben Lucarelli as acting auctioneer, and a slate of live music from borough-based entertainers Bob Lucky and River Road Band, the event is one in which, as Councilwoman Susan Sorensen puts it, “our focus is Fair Haven.” It’s a focus that extends to the Centennial Gala’s silent auction, an offering for which Sorenson and fellow co-chair Marie Noglows solicited original artworks from “collectible professionals and accomplished amateurs,” all with an arty accent on Fair Haven and the surrounding area.

During the “fast but furious auction” conducted by Hizzoner, participants will bid on such big-ticket items as “a vacation home, a cocktail cruise on the Navesink, an afternoon fishing trip with catered lunch, four tickets to a Nets game with courtside club passes and a personal photo op with members of the Nets’ Dance Team or the Nets Mascot.”

A 50/50 drawing is also on the program, and co-chairs Erin Gotch and Cathy Alescio have assembled “an extensive gift card Pot of Gold” with the participation of local merchants (the Gala Committee is joined by Nicole Rice, who supervised the decor and coordinated with the Fair Haven Business Association).

Tickets ($55 per person; $100 per couple) are still available and include hors d’oeuvres, carving and pasta stations and desserts from Raven and the Peach. An additional $25 per person includes access to a VIP wine room, and reservations can be made by contacting Charlie Hoffman at (732) 747-0241, ext. 216.