More than just books, the family-friendly, annual mini-fair and book sale event hosted by the Secaucus Public Library drew thousands of people on Sept. 17 with raffle prizes, pie-eating contests, chess playoffs, and entertainment.
“I love it!” said 85-five-year old Helen Larson after stepping out of the Batmobile 1966 replica, one of the many attractions at the mini-fair. Larson became a resident of Secaucus in 1960, long before Angelo Marra II bought one of the few replicas in existence, which he brings to the fair every year.
In an age of digital media and e-readers, tables and shelves stacked with books still drew a steady stream of visitors, both adults and kids, anxious to fill up a bag for $3.
“You can see all your friends [and] have all the books you can get!” said 10-year-old Bryan Tran.
“I pick [books] up for work, recycle them, and pass them around.” – Jane Olsen
“I pick [books] up for work, recycle them, and pass them around,” said Olsen.
“People are generous. There has been a good turnout,” said Valerie Giambona, 54, resident for 28 years. She staffed the books tent and has worked at the fair for 14 years, since the beginning. “We have more books than last year.”
Trinkets, toys, and treats
“I found a lot,” said Leha Nyguyen, a resident since 1996. She purchased a watch from Amina Raisch, who sold jewelry, pashminas, ponchos, and leggings. Raisch said sales were getting better as the day went by.
“I love the jewelry!” said 11-year-old Jessica Scollan.
“I like the bracelets!” added her friend Ina Jang.
“I like the people here,” said Janie Lee, 11. Lee, Jang, and Scollan along with two other friends from Huber Street Elementary School and shy, 6-year-old Dante Alljahad, spent the day enjoying the fair activities such as the pie-eating contest, the vendors, and the costumed characters.
Who takes the cake
All-in-all, it was a beautiful, sunny day to stock up on good reads and try one’s hand at various prizes while enjoying a bit of entertainment and special sweets from the baking contest.
“Because every cake and cookie submitted for judging was delicious, the judges had a difficult time narrowing down the winners,” said Zinnia Miller, president of the Friends of the Secaucus Library.
Jessica Santos won the prize for Best in Show for her 9/11 red, white and blue cake crowned with twin towers. Simran Rajani’s strawberry cheesecake won best in that category, and Carol Scheiner’s crumb cake won best cake. Eleanor Halecki won the best pie competition for her blueberries and cream submission. Devanshi Parikh’s double layered brownie swirl bars took the prize in the best cookie/bar/cupcake category. Lorraine Frank’s big espresso chocolate chip cookie was deemed the best in the miscellaneous category. Winners in each category received gifts from the Friends of the Library.
The judges were Dr. Robert Berckes, Pooja Shahani, Frank Corso and Josephine DeGennaro.
Winning for programs
The mini-fair is the library’s largest community event. This year, it raised money for the Friends of the Library to sponsor educational and cultural programming such as the extended story hour program, the museum membership program, and the children’s summer reading program prizes.
The 50/50 fair-share raffle raised over $2,000 for the library for the digitization project to preserve the town’s history electronically. Tina Shahani of Secaucus won the top raffle prize of $1,086.25, which was 50 percent of half of what was raised in the sale of raffle tickets.
Donald Meyer of North Bergen took the second prize of $651.75, which was 30 percent of the total half raised. The third prize of $434.50, 20 percent of half of the total, was won by Shawn Moss, a local resident.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at email@example.com.