BELMAR, NJ — For Terry Williams Halifko, entering Belmar Arts Center’s raffle for the Freedman’s Bakery sign was more than a random toss of a ticket into the drawing basket.

Like so many others, she has many fond memories of the bakery that graced Belmar’s Main Street for 64 years. In fact, she also just happened to be Belmar on the day four years ago the red-and-white sign was being taken down from the bakery building at Main Street and Seventh Avenue.

So when Halifko recently received a phone call informing her she won the iconic metal sign, she could not have been happier. “This sign is so meaningful to me,” said the lifelong area resident who lives in the Shark River Hills section of Neptune. “I never, ever win anything, so this was quite a shock I shall remember always.”

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Halifko’s recollections of Freedman’s bakery reach back to her childhood. “My parents would drop me off to wait in the long lines for hard rolls and danish after church on Sunday as they drove round and round the block,” she recalled.

And during the early 1970s while attending St. Rose High School — located across the street from the bakery — she remembers the smell of doughnuts wafting through the school’s corridors, “driving us crazy on certain days,” she said. “When I had a bit of money, I bought a doughnut or brownie,” she said.

And there’s more: “I had a dear friend who worked there for years and years also, and I'd stop by and hang out in the back with her."

What’s next for the 12-by-3-foot Freedman’s metal sign that was repaired and preserved by Belmar Arts Center (BAC) volunteers Dorsey and Rich Lucas for the fundraising raffle? “This sign will be re-electrified and proudly hang in my den,” Halifko said.

She also thanked the arts center for the opportunity to raise funds for the nonprofit group. “I love the way such a small place can support the arts,” said Halifko, who has attended photography workshops at the center, located at 608 River Road.

Proceeds from the raffle will specifically support art openings and other creative events at BAC, whose core mission is to bring people together to discover, learn and celebrate the arts.

And according to its blog, “Rumor has it that in the future those large round letters that spelled out 'B A K E R Y' (on the Freedman’s sign) will be made available to the public.”

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