FAIR HAVEN: OKTOBERFEST IN NOVEMBER

Oktoberfest_1Rescheduled due to early October’s heavy weather, Fair Haven’s Oktoberfest returns for its fourth annual edition this Saturday evening, November 14.

Revised and re-posted because this event was rescheduled from its originally planned date of October 3 because of rain.

It’s a big-tent happening that exists very much in the autumn moment, from the traditional German food and selection of bier, to the sense of old-world revelry that dares to make merry in the face of the encroaching chill. But at the same time, Fair Haven’s Oktoberfest event is one in which the warm good vibes ripple throughout the calendar year; touching every aspect of the borough’s quality of life.

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FAIR HAVEN: A YEAR-ROUND OKTOBERFEST

Oktoberfest_1Fair Haven’s Oktoberfest event returns for its fourth annual edition this Saturday evening, rain or shine…or shall we say Rhein or Stein?

It’s a big-tent happening that exists very much in the October moment, from the traditional German food and selection of bier, to the sense of old-world revelry that dares to make merry in the face of the encroaching chill. But at the same time, Fair Haven’s Oktoberfest event is one in which the warm good vibes ripple throughout the calendar year; touching every aspect of the borough’s quality of life.

Back for a fourth annual edition, and presented by the nonprofit Foundation of Fair Haven, the “rain or shine” evening returns to the outdoor area 786 River Road (the municipal lot adjacent to Smart Start Preschool) for a four-hour fest that runs from 6:30 to 10:30 pm. Despite the location, it’s a grownup affair for those 21 and over; a chance to sample a smorgasbord of seasonal brews and sangria while enjoying diversions that include, in the words of Foundation president and borough councilwoman Susan Sorensen, “authentic Oktoberfest food, a great local band, RipTide, providing music — and, back by popular demand, Pong Tournament.”

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SCHOOL’S IN AT FAIR HAVEN LODGE

smart-startGene and Debbie Trotta outside the former Masonic lodge on River Road in Fair Haven, which is now home to their pre-school, Smart Start. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Its prominent brick frame rising to a spire, it had once been home to a church and later a Masonic lodge, but for the last two decades it was little more than a shell of Fair Haven’s past.

To Gene Trotta and Debbie Trotta, the River Road landmark was crying out for something.

“I looked at it for 20 years, and I always said it was meant to be a school,” said Gene.

The Trottas admired the century-old building while they went to work down the street, to the Cedar Avenue preschool they started in their late 20s, a one-floor spot with just a couple classrooms and not a hint of the history or distinct architecture they coveted on River Road.

Then, as Debbie tells it, a little bit of fate interceded, and by the time the school year started, the Colts Neck couple was busting out boarded-up windows, spreading spackle and applying a finish to original chestnut wood floors.

“Everything’s original in here,” Gene said.

Except for the owners, who have fulfilled their vision to run Smart Start Preschool within the historic walls of 786 River Road.

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