It was the late summer of 1960, and even as storm watchers were keeping tabs on a tropical depression named Donna, the thoughts of most folks were with squeezing the last bit of enjoyment out of another hard-earned vacation season.
The American Football League was still a week or two away from kicking off its first game, and precious few people were aware of a little band named the Beatles, but taking advantage of a change in state laws governing raffles and midway-style games of chance, volunteer firefighters in launched an event that returns for its 58th annual edition this week: the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair.
The area’s longest-running community carnival returns as the 57th annual Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair gets underway Friday night. (Photo and video by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Generations on the Greater Red Bank Green have known it as a bittersweet occasion — a last dance with the devil-may-care pleasures of the season before that inevitable pivot to thoughts of “back to school” and “where’s my sweater?”
The Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair is all of that and more, and when this oldest (and, many agree, greatest) of all local carnivals puts down stakes for a 57th annual edition that begins Friday evening, it will hold as many different meanings (and represent as many vivid memories) as there are people who have thrilled to its rides, vied for its prizes and stood in line for an order from its celebrated seafood café.
The rides and midway that transform River Road into a festival of lights and happy crowds. The tantalizing aromas that waft forth from the on-site seafood cafe. The fire truck excursions, “Out Back” snack bar, strolling Super 50/50 ticket vendors, and all of the other sights, sounds and smells that have come to define summertime’s grandest hurrah on the Navesink are back — as the annual Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair returns for an incredible 56th consecutive edition this weekend.
Beginning Friday evening and continuing every night (except for August 30) through September 5, the community tradition commandeers the grounds of the borough firehouse for an eight-day extravaganza that’s come to be described as an “iconic” signpost of summer along the Navesink. At the same time, the fair represents one last bittersweet blast against the encroaching season of back-to-school supplies, summer-love goodbyes, and that first sweater-weather breath of breeze through the window.
The chance to dunk-tank a local official is just part of the free, family-friendly fun as the Fair Haven Police presents its 13th annual National Night Out Against Crime community event. Police departments in Red Bank and (for the first time) Little Silver also offer the community observances on August 4.
On the evening of Tuesday, August 4, the Red Bank Police and its neighbor departments on the greater Green will once again invite all members of their communities to take part in National Night Out — the nationwide outreach program designed to “promote police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live.” Or, as familiar spokesdog McGruff puts it, to “take a bite out of crime.”
Student cheerleaders and basketball players are pictured with “local celebrities” from the Fair Haven Fire and Police Departments at the conclusion of the Hoops for Hearts event, held at Knollwood School on February 6.
Press release from Fair Haven School District
Sixth graders from Knollwood School cheered as their classmates took on local “celebrities” — law enforcement officers and firefighters — during a fast-paced “Hoops for Hearts” Championship Basketball Game on February 6. The “celebrities” achieved victory, but the real winner was the American Heart Association.
The first fundraiser of its kind at the school, Hoops for Hearts netted an astounding $7,560 — more than double the goal amount of $3,500 — to benefit the AHA. Approximately 119 Knollwood sixth-graders participated in the event, organized by first-year Physical Education and Health Teacher Kim Lagrotteria.
From press materials furnished by Red Bank Police Dept., Fair Haven Police Dept. and Sen. Jennifer Beck
There’s an Inflatable Dalmatian Bounce House. A gaming tent, face painting, cookout favorites, prize giveaways — and even a chance to Dunk Tank a local official. It’s not the Street Festival, Block Party or Fireman’s Fair, but an altogether different kind of event that makes itself at home in the community each summer — the annual Night Out in Fair Haven and Red Bank.
Presented by the Police Departments in both local boroughs on Tuesday, August 5, the 12th annual event is once again part of a National Night Out community outreach program, in which law enforcement personnel from coast to coast invite the youngest members of their communities to learn about safety and police work in a friendly and fun setting.
Introduced in 1984, the Night Out initiative is designed to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie, and the sending of “a message to criminals, letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.”
The Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair kicks off its traditional week-plus run Friday night.
Touted as the biggest firemen’s fair in New Jersey, the event boasts feel-good qualities galore: brimming bowls of clam chowder, bird’s-eye views from atop a Ferris wheel, dizzying rides and a much-anticipated “super 50-50” drawing. Upwards of 10,000 visitors are expected.
The fair runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. It’s closed on Sunday, and wraps up Saturday, September 3.
A slideshow of photos from last year’s fair is here. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)
Fair Haven firefighters rescued a young crabber after he fell into the Navesink River Monday night, said fire Chief Wade Davis.
Within minutes of receiving the call from the unidentified boy’s mother, firefighters had him out of the water and were treating him for a minor laceration, Davis said.
Responding to long-standing concerns from Fair Haven’s first responders about emergency dispatch service, Monmouth County officials have put in place short- and long-term measures to fix lag times and clarity in 911 calls, borough Administrator Theresa Casagrande said.
The actions, she said in a memo to the council, “will provide the borough with quality dispatch services now and in the future.”
It’s been close to two years since Fair Haven jobbed out its emergency dispatching services to the Monmouth County Sheriffs 911 Communication Center, and so far, not so good. Still.
“We’re no more satisfied than we were last year,” said former fire chief Jim Cerruti.
Councilman Rowland Wilhelm said Monday that it comes down to clarity of the calls and delays in the calls being relayed to fire and first aiders.
Wilhelm, along with police and fire representatives, is scheduled to meet with county officials today (Thursday) “to try and allay these issues or straighten them out the best we can.”
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Mary Whipple has an important piece of advice for high school students when they get into college.
“Plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize,” she said.
Not in the classroom, that is, but on the water. Whipple, a gold medal Olympian in rowing, was talking about the keys to becoming a top-notch coxswain to about 20 local high school rowers.
One way to do so, she said, is listen to the coach.
“Start to learn what your coach is saying, then use their words,” she said.
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
With the turn of the calendar to 2011, so comes a change of command ’round the Green.
Although many of the same volunteers will be responding to emergency calls, from a slip on an icy sidewalk to an actual blaze, the leaders at area fire departments are different from last year.
To get you up to speed, here’s a quick rundown of your new fire chiefs, all of whose terms expire December 31.
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Fair Haven Fire Chief Jim Cerruti spends more time than he’d like at the intersection of Ridge and Fair Haven roads.
He and his volunteer crew were out there again Tuesday afternoon for a fender-bender that, while there were no injuries involved, highlights safety concerns that Cerruti says haven’t been addressed with any kind of action.
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
A small fire on the property of a vacant River Road home last Thursday afternoon has opened the eyes of Fair Haven officials to a popular hangout spot for teenagers, who are suspected of having started the fire.
Fire Chief Jim Cerruti said firefighters responded at about 5p Thursday to a report of a fire at the former home of Olga Schwenker Doremus, who died in 2004. No one was there when the department arrived, but Cerruti suspects teenagers who set the fire. Aerosol cans were found at the scene.
“The house itself was not damaged,” he said. “It was like a camp fire, for lack of a better term.”
Last month, Zachary Buttler, a 15-year-old from the Belford section of Middletown, died after he fell from the roof of another vacant Fair Haven house that neighbors said was an attraction for teenagers.
Fair Haven firefighters got a dose of action last night in a simulated fire at a vacant Harrison Avenue home.
About 30 volunteers spent three hours running an assortment of drills at the home, which is slated to be torn down, said chief Jim Cerruti.
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
It was a steamy Tuesday night in Fair Haven.
Thankfully there were rollercoasters and ice cream cones to cool things off a bit, and the locals indulged. redbankgreen strolled through the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair to grab some shots of the action.
The fair continues through the week, and wraps up Saturday night.
To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
For many, it’s the last shot at summer fun a chance to scarf down cotton candy and hop into a bucket on the Ferris wheel.
For most, though, Andy Schrank says it’s more like a family reunion.
“Time flies,” said Schrank, a 30-year veteran of Fair Haven’s fire department. “A whole year goes by and now, all of a sudden, all these people are coming out of the woodwork.”
They come each year for the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair, and whatever reason brings them out of the woodwork, the area’s spirited summer closeout gets into action tonight.
Jim Cerruti was sworn in Friday as Fair Haven’s fire chief, a duty he’s been filling since November. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Although he really took over the job in November, Jim Cerruti is officially Fair Haven’s new fire chief.
Cerruti was sworn in Friday at the borough’s annual reorganization meeting, with his family and many of his firefighting buddies packed into the Town Hall meeting room to give him a raucous ovation.
The former deputy chief was scheduled to succeed Shaun Foley this year anyway, but Foley resigned in November, a day after he hit a utility pole with his chief’s vehicle, allegedly while drunk, and later jumped off the Oceanic Bridge, setting off a massive rescue effort.