October 13, 2012 at 1:00 AM
BYRAM, NJ – Close to 300 people gathered at a sold out event on Thursday night at Waterloo Village, to benefit the village, and the most recent project there, the restoration of the Gristmill roof.
Attendees packed into the Museum Shop to enjoy food and wine from various local establishments. There was also a silent, and live auction, items for sale to benefit the cause, and live musical entertainment.
Waterloo Village is a 19th century restored village along the Morris Canal, which, in spite of being on both the U.S. and New Jersey Register of Historic Places, has fallen in disrepair over recent years.
The village was closed down in 2006 when the state no longer backed it, although the privately Waterloo United Methodist Church on the grounds has remained open. Tours of the village are still available through one of the non-profit groups, Winakung at Waterloo Inc (click here for the website, and the Friends of Waterloo Village, another non-profit (click here for their site) has become the fundraising arm.
“I’m really happy to see so many people wanted to come,” said Susan Zellman, Sussex County Freeholder, and, Chair of Friends of Waterloo Village, the organization that has worked to secure funding to refurbish and restore the village.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to reach our goal,” Zellman added.
The goal was to raise $10,000 from this Harvest Moon Festival, with tickets on sale at a pre-sale price of two for $50, and after, two for $60.
Eateries and caterers that were there with gastronomical goodies included: the Black Forest Inn, SALT Gastropub, Muldoon’s, Shakey Jakes, Bella Italia, Down to the Bone, All In The Icing, Bell’s Mansion, Cafe Pierrot, and Sussex County Technical School, which supplied baked goods.
Some of the items available for tasting there included: House Smoked Salmon with Dill Mascarpone on Rye Bread, with Fried Pierogies (Bell’s Mansion); Shepherd’s Pie, Beer-Battered Cod, Potato Leek Soup (Muldoon’s), Pork Stew, Spatzle, Red Cabbage (Black Forest Inn), Strawberry, Pumpkin, and Chocolate Mousses, Guinness Cupcakes, and Guinness Cake Pops (All In The Icing), and more.
“Everything we use is homegrown,” said Anna Kaczynski of Bell’s Mansion, whose parents Maria and Jack, the restaurant’s owners, served up their items topped with vegetables grown in the restaurant’s garden.
Wine and beer distributors were also on hand to supply beverages.
Everything at the event, from the vendors, to the silent auction items, was donated.
Lenox frames, a Whistling Swan gift basket, gift certificate for a baking class from All In The Icing, sports memorabilia, photographs, and watercolor paintings, were some of the many items at the silent auction, and available for purchase.
“I think this is absolutely fabulous, they’ve done a wonderful job,” said Gail Phoebus, Andover Township Deputy Mayor, and Sussex County Freeholder Candidate, who was in attendance. “It’s for a good cause, and the food is delicious.”
Carlos Luaces, one of Byram’s Township Council Members, volunteered his time serving up desserts prepared by Cafe Pierrot, with some other goodies from the Sussex County Technical School sharing the same table. Luaces then swapped his shift with fellow council member, Nisha Kash.
“It’s a great event to try to bring back a great recreational, and meeting place with a history for our town,” said Luaces. “I’d like to see it grow from here.”
Some other dignitaries present volunteering at the event either serving food, or pouring wine were: Byram Township Mayor Jim Oscovitch, Byram Township Council Member Marie Raffay, and George Graham, Stanhope Council President. Sussex County Freeholder Richard Vohden, Sussex County Freeholder Candidate Dennis Mudrick, and Stanhope Councilwoman Diana Kuncken, were some other notables who mingled within the crowd at festival.
“We knew we were going to sell out,” said Graham. “It’s a great event. We have a list going already of people interested in attending for next year.”
Tony and Desiree Torre of Newton were among the guests. Tony Torre is Sussex Bank’s Vice President/Business Development Officer.
“It’s all good,” Torre said. “Our bank loves to support the community, and a good cause.”
“We know how much effort Susan Zellman has put in,” Torre added.
He described wife Desiree, and Zellman as “longtime friends.”
Bob Smith of Panther Valley in Allamuchy, N.J., was also in attendance. Smith’s ancestors lived in Waterloo Village, and he has researched the family’s genealogy.
“It’s amazing how many people are here tonight, it shows how many are interested in Waterloo,” Smith said.