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Fair Haven Firemen's Fair Factoids

A few interesting things you may or may not know about the fair and its history

There are many traditions that have been kept going for years at the .

Some are common knowledge. Others are interesting factoids that are little known.

Here are a few:

• Lifetime Fair Havenite and longtime Fair Haven Fire Company member Tom Kirman revealed an interesting fact on the Fair Haven Facebook page.

He told everyone that it has been a tradition, since has brought the rides to the fair, that the crew stands together each evening before it opens and joins in a circle of prayer.

• Jeanette Choma, a Fair Havenite for nearly 60 years, who has helped out at the Grab Bag Booth for at least 30 of them, has a closing night ritual.

She gathers a helium balloon for each fair volunteer who has passed, has her own remembrance conversation with each (from Earth to heaven), and releases the balloons.

She has no special routine and has never announced it. She just does it quietly and sends her love up to them, as she has said. Sometimes she sends a balloon up as she remembers, one at a time. Sometimes she sends a few together. And other times, she sends them all up at once.

There are all too many at this stage, she has said with sadness.

• There has always been a game of chance booth with candy in it. One of the most sought after big boxes of candy in the game back in the early 1970s was Bazooka Bubble Gum.

There was a bonus winning in the wrappers of the gum. Kids would stuff their mouths full of bubble gum and have bubble blowing contests as they sorted through the wrappers.

Now it would be thought of as dentally criminal to promote bubble gum in such a way. Does anyone remember what the prize was?

• For many years the most sought-after prize was the new car that was raffled off. It sat on the front lawn of the firehouse for weeks before and during the fair (or was it moved during?).

That was replaced with the Super 50/50 cash prize.

Does anyone remember what the last car was that was raffled off and who won it? What year?

• There is a favorite now-retired Knollwood School teacher who has been a fair volunteer for many years. You can usually find him at the 50/50 booth (at least in the past few years) Do you know who the teacher is and how many years he's been with the fair and fire company?

• Longtime Fair Havenite and fire company member Bill Overman used to have an interesting job at the fair. He was a clown.

He corralled the kids onto the fire truck ride in a clown outfit and full make-up and handed each a lollypop. And he hung onto the back of the fire truck as it rode through town with the kids.

• There were pony rides at the fair for many years and they were right next to the line for the fire truck ride. Does anyone remember what year they stopped and why?

• For many years at the fair another sought-after prize was a cupie doll. At one point they were made as toilet paper covers. The legs would go into the cardboard cylinder and the dress would cover the roll.

It was a popular way to make the spare toilet paper roll available in the bathroom and "attractive."

If you can think of any other interesting fair factoid or tradition, please let us know in the comments section below.

And if you have any photos of any of these things, either email them to elaine.develde@patch.com or upload them directly to this story (just follow the prompts). See you at the fair! ;)

Nancy Sheridan August 26, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Having grown up in Fair Haven one of my fondest memories about the fair was each night at 6pm they would sound the fire alarm (which was bells back then and not a siren) to announce the official start of the fair each evening. The children would run from all directions and meet in front of the firehouse to plan their strategy on winning boxes of candy. You would actually win boxes of 24 candy bars and the games were a dime. The children loved winning boxes of candy and the parents were more interested in the peach baskets of fresh produce. I was given $1.00 each night which seemed like a lot of money and such wonderful memories to see all your friends as well as their parents all working for the same cause even if it meant school was about to begin!
Fred M August 26, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I commend the hard work of all these Volunteers that make this happen...Let's not take this fun they provide for granted...We should all tell at least one volunteer a little THANK YOU....
Elaine Van Develde (Editor) August 26, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Yes, I agree Fred! Too few really understand the level of dedication these people have to the community, not only at fair time but when there is an emergency and they, with no pay, fly out of their beds at night to help people. And, yes, Nancy ... the sounding of the alarm and produce. Thank you for that reminder! I forgot. Keep it coming, folks! ;)
Fred M August 26, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Volunteers always like to hear a simple Thank You...Those two words go a long way..And it doesn't Cost Anything...
APO 301 August 26, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Wrote a comment on the old fireman's fair, tried to send it, is now lost somewhere in cyber space. Have no idea where it is or went. Bob Zerr
Elaine Van Develde (Editor) August 26, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Don't know, Bob. Try again ... right here on the page. Make sure you're logged in and click submit when you're done. That should do it. You may have deleted your own comment by accident. ;)
Doug Borden August 27, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Elaine, The money wheel used to be the cigarette booth and people would bet packs of cigarettes to win packs of cigarettes instead of money. Minature golf has certainly been a long standing tradition dating back to at least the 60s that I can remember. The ride the "Zipper" has been there since at least the early 70s. The sledge hammer/ring the bell game, was a long standing tradition with a much taller machine in the 70s and 80s and earlier. I am glad it has returned even in it's shorter incarnation. Does anyone know the date of the first fair? We moved into town in 1966 and it was already flourishing.
APO 301 August 27, 2012 at 02:02 PM
"The old Fireman's Fair", was held where the Boro Hall is now, between the American Store, and Stadlers Rest. Roy King and Tommy Emmons kept the hotdogs and Crates soda moving. New car was on a revolving stand so it was well seen, clean and shiny for the new lucky winner. Dance floor was in the back, 10cents a dance, with music by Jake Mazaroppi"s band and at 10PM there was always some kind of show. Charlie Cross ran the "ponies" at a card table, 25cents a chip, and the grab bag booth was right next to him in the middle of the fair. Bingo tent was in the back by the dance floor, corn kernnels were used for markers. All over the grounds, you could hear Benny Reinhart shout, "bumps it is" from a booth that had colored strips and a few bumps strips that when the car stopped, it landed on a color or bumps and you won if you were lucky. Benny also did duty at the hotdog stand. Big Six wheel was in the back, you won money instead of cigarettes, favorite was, "3 beautiful sixes". There were other booths, produce, housewares, pots & pans, can't remember anymore. Also had vanilla, choclate and strawberry ice cream sandwiches on a sugar wafer. Early in the AM uskids would walk the grounds looking for money that people the night before may have dropped. When the fair was over, put away for another year, grounds was once again our playground, and we knew summer was over. I missed a lot of other people running the fair, but I was a kid a LONG time ago, and can't remember all.
Leslie August 27, 2012 at 04:47 PM
My kids are natives of Rumson. We would take them here and see all our friends and their little ones. It was such a blast. My son, now twenty, was a fire truck maniac lol. We always had to take him on the truck ride. We have very fond memories of this fare and always "donated" lots of money to it LOL
Elaine Van Develde (Editor) August 27, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Hey, Doug! Thanks for the info. I remember. And Bob ... Great stuff. Thanks so much for sharing that. I do recall the car spinning around on that platform. ;)
barbara Keating August 29, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Hi Elaine! I am a lifelong resident of Fair Haven, and don't think I have ever missed a Fair, except for my college years. I lived on Lewis Lane, and the Firetruck used to come down our street. All the kids would wait, and the Clown would throw lollipops to us, which was great consolation for not being allowed to go the Fair every night!! One year the Clown stopped throwing the lollipops, and we all "picketed," chanting "Down with the Clown!" Sorry Mr. Overman!! I loved the pony rides, and was so glad my children were able to ride them before they were taken away. Does anyone know why they were taken away??
Perry J. Eli, Jr. September 01, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Here's my two cents: I recall some of the pre- and post-WWII fairs when we had a dance floor and contests. My grandparents, Jack and kate Paporello from Union City, would frequently win the contests. These were the days when Fight Promoter Mike Jacobs from Ridge/Bingham Ave. would bring fighters, such as Two Ton Tony Galanto (sp?), to be introduced to the crowd. If my 81 year old memory is correct, the fairs were suspended during the war. My parents, the late Police Capt. Perry Eli and Helen, lived at 75 Lafayette St. The fairs were just one of the elements that made Rumson a great place to be raised. I felt fortunate to have grown up there. Perry Eli, Jr., now of Raleigh, NC P.S. Hi to long time friends Jim Tanner and Bob Zerr. I enjoy getting the Rumson newsletter.
Perry J. Eli, Jr. September 01, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Geting older, stil feeling well and even good
John N. Olexa Sr November 09, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Little known fact is planning for the fair starts the last night of the fair for the following year.

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