Tuesday, May 28, 2013

St. Cecelia Fair

The annual St. Cecelia Church Fair, more commonly remembered  & promoted as the Iselin Fair, was held  in July on a large lot in Woodbridge NJ.  It was very popular. An incredible number of attractions were packed  into the space.  In addition to the carnival rides there was a midway with games of chance,  two  crowded beer tents (one favored by Harley bikers), a simplified roulette wheel where you could gamble & win real money.  Food was the centerpiece,  a line of open tents arranged down the middle of the fairground with the usual burgers & hot dogs, ribs, deep-fried pizza,     seafood, & other stuff I don't remember. Live entertainment. In the 90's  I stopped by on my way home from working at the Pearl Arts Supply store on Saturday night, bought some 50/50 chances (the pot was huge), & stayed until the grand drawing closing the fair.

Enrollment at St. Cecelia's School declined, probably along with the number of parishioners   available & willing  to organize & staff  the fair. The demographics of the area became so heavily Indian that it's now famous for Indian restaurants, bakeries, sari shops, & an India Day Parade. The school was finally closed, ending  a local tradition that had existed for  seven  decades.

There are still good fairs in Jersey - some large county fairs, numerous smaller fairs  sponsored by churches & volunteer fire depts., a big state fair up in Sussex County  with livestock displays, pig races,  pie contests & massive traffic jams on two lane roads leading to it. St. Cecelia was the best one in my part of the state.

Video from Gary Perry.

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