For decades there was what was referred to as The Grab Bag Booth at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair. The booth was there for kids to get consolation prizes, featuring, of course, real brown paper grab bags full of goodies, that parents could buy if they didn’t win at the wheel games of chance. And there were balloons … and some fair ladies to keep the fair goodness going strong.
The Grab Bag Booth is now gone from the midway. At one point, for many years, my mom, Sally Van Develde was the chairwoman of the booth. This piece is an annual reprise to honor the booth’s goodness, the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair and those things that never disappear like helium balloons into the dark sky … Memories of a special lady — my mom.
Growing up in Fair Haven with parents in the fire company, Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair time meant time spent inflating punch balls during the day and helium balloons at night.
“Round and round she goes; and, where she stops, nobody knows.”
That usual was the sing-song mantra echoed through the grounds of the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair back in the day. It was emanating from the guys manning the game of chance booths that still line the grounds — the loud ticking of the wheel with the spin, numbers going round and round, fingers crossed, breath held … until they stopped on that winning number. “Aaaaaand we have a WINNER!” Woohoo!
The following piece was originally published on Aug. 31, 2015. It is being re-run, with changes only in the amount of years that have passed, in memory of my father, Bill Van Develde, former longtime Fair Haven Fire Company member, president and captain of the Fire Police and chairman of the Stock Room at the fair, on the anniversary of his death on Aug. 30, 1983. RIP, Dad. You are missed. Thank you for all the embarrassing moments that I didn’t appreciate enough. Thank you for making Fair Haven my home. Thank you for being a real dad. See you on the fair grounds …
By Elaine Van Develde
It’s been 39 years, but I can still see his face and that kooky Brylcreemed hairdo. I can still hear his crazy belly laugh and that signature “Take ‘er easy, buddy!” I can still see him slapping kids on the back, forever clutching his trusty clipboard, pencil perched behind his ear, sweat on the brow and finger wagging.
A reprise, because every fair has its surprises, stars and, well, photo bombers …
Seemingly everyone knows that Bruce Springsteen until recent years made Rumson his primary home. The Boss was always known as a big fan and frequenter of the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair. Over the years, he’s been seen countless times casually roaming the grounds — though more often when his kids were little.
My little sister Terri was a light. Sometimes she burned bright and brilliant; other times she merely sparkled … As she traveled, explored, and embraced her worlds, Terri connected with people for a moment or a lifetime; once she made a connection, she cherished it. My heart is broken. I will miss her desperately. ~ Chris Rowett Peter
A light. Always glistening. Shining. Lighting the way to welcome every connection in her universe. Wrapping each in a tight hug of warm, ferocious illumination.
That’s how Rumson-raised Teresa Ann Rowett, better known as Terri or TT, was seen. The youngest of five sisters and one brother, the third sister to pass away, the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School Class of 1982 graduate died suddenly at Shore Point Health in Port Charlotte, on Aug. 22. She was 57. Her life was celebrated on Sunday.
An area man who was incarcerated has been charged with the first-degree crime of strict liability and related charges in connection with the April opioid overdose death of a fellow inmate at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced on Monday.
Our annual reprise in celebration of opening night of the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair …
All’s fair. The night before. The decades later. It’s something a Fair Haven kid will always see … a shooting star that they grabbed and tucked away in their heart, holding onto the glistening, magical light.
The night is still. A light is on. Trucks are out of the bays. Cartoony faces and ghosts in empty seats on unassembled carnival rides stare back in the dark. Someone’s cooking at the Fair Haven firehouse. It’s fair time.
It’s that time again. Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair time. The end-of-the-summer tradition that’s been celebrated for more than a century in the Rumson-Fair Haven area. The community eats it all up. That and the food.