Friday night will mark the start of a new Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School homecoming tradition — The R-FH Homecoming Carnival.
Most of the oldest homecoming traditions will remain the same. There will be a homecoming king and queen. There will be a homecoming “court” of runners up. There will be princes and princesses from each class. The ceremony will take place during the football game’s halftime.
For the first time in R-FH history, however, there will be no homecoming dance.
Instead, the carnival will cover the homecoming party aspect of it all and will, instead of a "night after" dance, precede the game, from 4 to 6 p.m. on the high school’s upper field.
“We felt that it would be better attended and involve more students and more of the community this way,” R-FH Vice Principal Chris Lanzalotto said. “The attendance at the dance was really low. There was only about 10 percent of the student body showing up. This way, everything is done in one day and it involves activity that will attract more kids. There will be all sorts of games, rides, music and food. And then everyone is right there for the night game under the lights that follows (at Borden Stadium).”
Specifically, the carnival will feature: an inflatable moon bounce, obstacle course, basketball challenge, joust, wrecking ball, Euro bungee, barbeque, glitter and henna tattoo artists, live performances by student bands, a balloon artist and stilt walker, according to a statement from the high school.
Then, as far as ceremonial and sports traditions go, the football game will start this year at 7 p.m. and played against Toms River’s Monsignor Donovan High School and the homecoming court ceremony will, as usual, highlight the halftime.
At that time, the homecoming court, comprised of the five top vote-getters in the senior class, will be introduced and the king and queen announced. The king and queen will then be driven around the track and circle back to the center of the field where the court and princes and princesses will file in from either side of the field to the center with flowers and pose for photos, Lanzalotto said.
That ceremony has not changed much in the course of R-FH history, except for the ride and princes and princesses. The date and day of the game, however, has.
Dating back roughly 15 years, the homecoming was held on Thanksgiving Day and always played against Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School, with a dance in what was referred to as the senior building the night before.
“It was too cold, and dealing with the weather was tough,” Lanzalotto said. “Mostly, though, the RBC rivalry was stopped because we could no longer play on Thanksgiving Day. Then, when we stopped having the Saturday games, the dance was held the night after the Friday games and the attendance just got lower and lower. We really wanted everyone to be involved, including the community, so we’re excited about the carnival. It’s going to be a great day and night at R-FH.”
There have been many homecomings over the years at R-FH. Which do you recall as the best? Do you remember who the king and queen of your class were? Do you know which of the homecoming couples pictured ended up getting married and raising their family in Fair Haven?
Take a look at the photos attached and upload your own or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the carnival, there will be separate charges of $5 for rides and food. Those charges are will be waived for R-FH students with SGA cards.
Admission to the football game is free for RFH students with SGA cards, $3.00 for adults, and $2.00 for students, children and senior citizens.