Retro Springsteen Fair Fun

Springsteen at the 1995 Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair Photo/Elaine Van Develde

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 frequenters 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.

No one has ever bogged him down with Bruce fan mania at the fair; and he’s always been known to be friendly and gracious to all. He was always just another Rumson-Fair Haven area fairgoer.

One night back in 1995, when Bruce was still living in Rumson, this editor and roving reporter for a small, now-defunct weekly newspaper happened to be taking some standard black-and-white 35 mm film shots at the fair.

Not-so-hushed whispers of “He went that way!” were overheard and the hunt for a sought-after photo of The Boss. Realizing that not even a shot of Bruce at the fair would get me a raise, a paid day off (we got docked for being sick, for crying out loud) or even a “good job” from the boss (the other one at the paper), I relented. A little tuckered out and sick of the standard chase to nowhere but the darkroom in a career boost, I rested against the carousel railing.

Giving a little sigh to myself, I looked down with a disgusted mutter and up to see The Boss standing right in front of me one kid in tow and the other on the merry-go-round.

Without even a thought to say hello or a single thing, I just pulled the point-and-shoot dangling from my hand up and “click” took a shot. One shot. This was it. Then, feeling like an unfazed Boss-beaten idiot, I walked away without a word.

Keep in mind that this one shot was truly a “what the hell?” move. It wasn’t a digital camera. There was no way of knowing what had been captured on that film until it was taken to the darkroom the next day.

That trip turned out to be an enlightening one when the chief photographer started screaming, “Holy crap!” from his literal little dark hole in the wall in our rickety office.

So, friends and fans, in honor of Bruce, the fair and growing up on The Boss and the fair, the Retro Pic of the Day features that moment many years ago. It also honors the carousel. Where’d it go? And, really, does anyone know who that photo bomber is?

John Caroli
BCS Wealth Management