Tag Archives: Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair

Staying Home with My ‘Fair’ Lady on Her Birthday

Our now annual reprise honoring the inspiration for R-FH Retro — my mom, Sally Van Develde — on what would have been her 99th birthday. A birthday wish … Happy Heavenly Birthday, Mom. You remain in the hearts of so many … Besides, I won’t let them forget.

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?” ~ Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

For the love of home and a Fair Haven mom … that’s right.

Sometimes a birthday without her is about lighting the candles, making the wish, sustaining the simple legacy of going home, staying home with my mom, Sally Van Develde.

Today would have been her 99th birthday. If she had lived to blow out all those candles on her cake, I wondered what she would have done. What her wish would have been.

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Focus: A Fair Wrap

The Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair came back to town after a forced pandemic respite last year.

And it came back with gusto, even though the seafood was sorely missed by many. The Grab Bag Booth a/k/a Balloon Booth made its exit, fair grounds left, this year, too. It’s gone for good. No more buying prizes to compensate for losses at the games of chance. Waaaaaa! But, all was very well with the fair’s return.

Save for the twister threat that banished Firemen’s Night on Wednesday, thousands flocked to the fair just about every night.

Many of the sights have already been seen. But, here’s R-FH Retro’s glimpse into fairing well at the fair … (Click on one photo to enlarge and scroll! Enjoy!)

Fair Remembrance: All’s Fair in the Middle

Our annual reprise about what it really means to be a “fair” kid …

There are a lot of significant beginnings and endings this time of the year. The end of summer. The beginning of locals’ summer. The start of school — new chapters and first days.

But, what about the middle? The end of the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair has always brought me, and many a “fair” kid, back to that middle haven. It’s home.

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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.

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Remembering My Fair Daddy

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 …

Retro Fair Haven Firemen's Fair stock room days in the 1970s Photo/FHFD booklet
Retro Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair stock room days in the 1970s
Photo/FHFD booklet

By Elaine Van Develde

It’s been 38 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.

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Retro Fair Balloon Lady

Sally Van Develde selling balloons at the Fair Haven Firemen's Fair Grab Bag Booth
Sally Van Develde selling balloons at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair Grab Bag Booth

A reprise to honor 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.

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Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair Factoids & 2021 FYI

Carousel rider at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair circa 1990s
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

The Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair opens tonight after a rare one-end-of-summer hiatus due to COVID-19. And with the fair known as the largest in the state has always come a lot of tradition. 

There are, however, some fair traditions that have and have not endured through the years. Do you know what they are?

We do.

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Retro Fair Stock Dudes

Retro Fair Haven Firemen's Fair stock room days in the 1970s Photo/FHFD booklet
Retro Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair stock room days in the 1970s
Photo/FHFD booklet

They’re setting up for the return of the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair.

The fair has been a tradition for decades. That’s no secret. And there has always been food, rides and prizes.

Continue reading Retro Fair Stock Dudes