Hometown fair feeling
Event draws crowd for second year running
by Adriana Rambay Fernández
Reporter staff writer
Jun 17, 2012 | 1744 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
POPCORN DELIGHT – Four-year-old Aarushi Kharb enjoys popcorn during the fair.
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An estimated 10,000 people came to the second annual Hometown Street Fair in Secaucus, a three-day event. The fair had people dancing in the street to the Duprees’ oldies renditions and eating summertime favorites like ice cream and funnel cake.

This year’s fair, which began on Friday, June 8, was bigger than last year’s. It boasted 87 vendors and seven live bands.

“The event was just fabulous,” said organizer Paulette Halpin. “Everyone went away happy and entertained.”

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“A lot of our friends are here.” – Ariana Perez

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Some of the new items included a beer garden and smoothie vendor in addition to the more traditional fare of fried Oreos, gyros, and shish-kebab. The fair also appealed to various ethnic tastes with Filipino, Argentinean, and Indian food.

Street fair creativity

Vendors received “Vendie Awards” for booth creativity. Happy Crafts Creation by Ada Mitreski won "Most Attractive," Hackensack Riverkeeper by Captain Bill Sheehan won "Most Festive" and Vito's Bakery by Vito Bavaro won "Over the Top."

Highlights of the fair included a dunk tank that contained officials such as Councilman Robert Costantino on Saturday and Mayor Michael Gonnelli on Sunday.

The “Field Station: Dinosaurs” puppet had fair goers laughing when it showed up on Saturday and danced to “I Will Survive,” performed by the band Group Therapy.

Teenagers were drawn to the 92.3 FM booth, which played contemporary music. Teenager Kelsey Yahn also performed on Friday night in front of her peers.

Bringing community together

Visitors had different reasons for coming out to the fair.

“Just to see the fair,” said Preeti Kharb, who was there with her family. Kharb has been a resident for four years.

“A lot of our friends are here,” said Ariana Perez, 11. She was with friends Selena Yang and Savannah Aguiar looking at jewelry.

Nine-year-old Matthew Marcelic was at the fair with his friend Sean Moloughny. Both had won items at the carnival games and said that their favorite part of the fair was the bounce house. The boys stopped at the fair on their way to see the Little League game across the Plaza.

“Events like these bring our community together,” said Gonnelli. He referenced the thousands of people that came out and said that the turnout helped local groups raise money for their causes. “They were able to raise awareness…as well as raise money,” he said.

He noted that local nonprofits such as UNICO, Knights of Columbus, K-n-S, People to People International, the Mark Vogel Charity, and others raised thousands of dollars for their respective issues through raffles and selling food or other items.

“It was eventful,” said Gonnelli. “We didn’t have one negative thing happen.”

Local support

The event raised $2,500 for the town, which went to defray the Memorial Day Parade costs.

“We had two big beautiful events at zero cost to taxpayer,” said Gonnelli in regard to the parade and street fair.

Halpin said that the success of the event was made possible with volunteers and fair committee members such as Regina Bator, Donna Przychodzki, Fran Petrizzo, Joe Kellenberger, Cynthia Constantine, Sheila Witrock, Lori Trainor, Cathy Wolf, Joan Cali, Judy Pascarello, Vinny Massaro Jr., Greg Lentini Jr., Susan Flanagan, John Flanagan, John Voli, George Miller, and Gonnelli. The committee worked closely with Director of Senior and Social Services Lisa Snedecker and Judy Preinfalk to bring the event together.

Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at afernandez@hudsonreporter.com.

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