The Fair Haven Fire Company has produced Firemen's Fairs for most of its 100-plus year history, except during the years of the World Wars. The first Fairs, starting in 1906, were more like carnivals than the Fair as we know it now. In the days of the "old Fairs" the events were usually held on the first week of August on a small lot on River Road that is now the site of the Fair Haven Municipal Building. Wire-walkers and chances on two autos were among the attractions, in addition to the usual booths with spinning wheels of chance. The highlight of the evening was the chance to swing on the dance floor with your partner to the tunes of a live band -- for the sum of 10-cents a dance! In 1936 a Chrysler Royal Sedan was raffled at a cost of 3 shares for 25-cents.
In 1954, new state gaming laws put an end to the games of chance, thus ending the "old Fairs." In an effort to raise funds without the benefits of the Fair, the Fire Company turned to weekly bingo games at the Firehouse, along with door-to-door collections. In early 1960, state gaming laws changed once again, providing an opportunity for the Fire Company to renew its Fair. Having stored all of the gaming equipment over the years, the firemen were ready to go and the Fair was reborn.
For many years, a key draw to the Fair was the raffle of a new automobile. During the summer months proceeding the Fair, the car would be prominently displayed at the front of the Firehouse. The excitement of the final Saturday evening of the Fair culminated with the drawing of the winning raffle ticket. But, like all other changes, automobiles became less attractive to families who increasingly owned multiple vehicles, including top-of-the line SUVs. So, the Fair Company discontinued the automobile raffle in the late 1990's and replaced the event with a "Super 50-50" event in which the winner walks away with 10s of thousands of dollars -- free to spend on a car or anything else of interest. This event has proved to be very popular and will be continued until cash prizes are no long of interest (whenever that might be).
The annual Fair Haven Fire Company Firemen's Fair is the largest firemen's fair in New Jersey and is the second largest fair of any kind in the state. Today's Fair is an exciting family activity that attracts people of all ages from throughout New…Read More »