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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! ;)

Elaine Van Develde 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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