By John Burton
FAIR HAVEN – The borough’s centennial celebration was, by most accounts, an unqualified success, given the responses from residents heard during the June 16 event and afterwards. The responses were so positive that borough officials are looking at options to make it an annual event.
“People have mentioned it many, many times,” Mayor Benjamin Lucarelli said this week about the prospect of having something similar in the future. “I think it was such a positive thing and such positive feedback, that it’s a good idea,” he said.
“I have not heard any person who does not want to do it again,” said Borough Councilwoman Susan A. Sorensen.
The idea is being considered to create an annual “Fair Haven Day,” primarily for residents, said Lucarelli and Sorensen.
The celebration featured musical entertainment, activities for kids, food, a truck serving beer for a fee, and a parade. The day culminated with a fireworks display.
The entire event, which took about one and a half years to plan, cost approximately $50,000, with no impact on taxpayers, officials said.
“We would truly like to do this without it being a tax burden,” Sorensen said.
The cost of the centennial event was borne by the Foundation of Fair Haven, an independent 501(c) not-for- profit corporation, which conducted fundraisers and sponsorships to raise the needed money.
Sorensen, who chairs the foundation, would likely look to undertake some of the same efforts, such as the March gala at the Raven and the Peach restaurant. The foundation would also work with the centennial committee on the future event, she said.
The idea for a Fair Haven Day is still in an early stage, Sorensen acknowledged. “The unknown was what was so stressful” about the centennial celebration. And given that organizers now have a blueprint, things could go fairly smoothly, she said.
The major costs for the centennial were for setup, food and fireworks. To offset costs, organizers are investigating whether to charge for food. Ultimately, though, “We would need volunteers and sponsors” to make it happen, she said.
“We really just think we can do this,” she said. “It’s just about getting it funded.”
“I think it would be a great idea to have it every year,” agreed Michel Berger, president of the Fair Haven Business Association and a Fair Haven resident. “We were amazed at how many people showed up for the event.”
“I would do whatever I could to support it,” he offered. But “it’s always the same challenge” to get volunteers. “But when you get a few, they get into it,” and others jump onboard, he observed.
As for now, “We’re still coming up with ideas,” Sorensen said.