MADISON – Calling Bottle Hill Day a street fair doesn’t even come close.
In spite of some drizzle, residents of the borough and surrounding area were out in force to hear music from four stages, eat things not on their diets, campaign for their favorite politicians, meet up with people they don’t see often, show off their dogs and generally have a great time.
Many of the area’s non-profits used the day to remind people of their work.
Andrea Zeydelis of the Visiting Nurse Association was one of those. She used the bully pulpit of a street fair to talk about the VNA as the foundation of health care in Morris, Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon counties. Besides the nursing services, VNA provides physical and occupational therapy, home and hospice care.
“We are in the forefront of senior and disability care,” Zeydelis said.
Another enthusiastic group is the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, a fixture in the Normandy Heights section of Morris Township for many years. For those unfamiliar with MUF as well as the aging hippies who used to regularly attend The Folk Project in the old mansion on Friday nights, the fellowship’s minister Rev. Alison Miller and director of congregational life Jamie Boyce were spreading the word.
“We believe in the value of the wisdom of all religions,” Miller said, adding the MUF creates a space for seekers of all ages. “We host community groups and circles of support,” she said.
The Presbyterian Church of Madison is growing and changing, according to Sara Burnet of the session (the church’s governing body). She said a new minister, Sunday School concurrent with the service and a children’s message each week may help to explain. During the street fair, the church featured a petting zoo and pony rides.
The Madison United Methodist Church was touting its fair trade mission. Kellie Kronzon explained the church works with as worker-owned cooperative to sell coffee and other products to raise money for their missions, women growers, Catholic relief sand a hospital in the Congo.
The Montessori Schools were all represented.
Pam Petrillo, director of Rainbow Montessori, said the school deviates slightly from Maria Montessori’s method be separating children by age and having a teacher-directed class which helps prepare children for the public schools, but uses most of the hands-on techniques and philosophy of Montessori.
Erin Seeley, a parent, and Linda Ferriero, a teacher at Madison Montessori praised the spirit of independence the Montessori method instills in children.
“Every child is different,” Ferriero said, “we allow them to step into themselves.”
Every child may be different, but the Madison Public Library was counting on two things: all children love buttons and all little boys want to do a craft making a pipe cleaner tarantula. It paid off for the library as children flocked to the button making machine and the spider craft.
Many children also like to sing and Christy McElynn was taking advantage of that by distributing literature about the New Jersey Youth Chorus which practices at the Chatham United Methodist Church. She said many children come from the Basking Ridge and Morristown areas but Madison is underrepresented and she hoped to recruit at the street fair.
Some of the most enthusiastic volunteers represented Save the Historic Madison Theater.
Sandy Kolakowski explained the group is working on getting its 501c3 status for fund raising. She is very excited about a visit from Ellen Elliot who saved a similar theater in Plymouth, Mich., on Oct. 15, 16 and 17. She said there is much enthusiasm for saving the theater and downtown movie houses are thriving all over the country.
Another enthusiastic group is the American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 43. Delighted they can now sell their memorial poppies all year, not just on Memorial and Veterans Days, they are looking forward to more fund raising efforts for women veterans and other veterans services.
The Madison Historical Soceity book table features many tomes of local and regional history. The group is adding three new chapters to the book “The Madison Heritage Trail” and will reissue the volume soon.
Political booths were enthusiastically supporting their candidates and food vendors were selling healthy and not-so-healthy but delicious food and all the vendors were pushing their “swag” in the hopes they wouldn’t have to pack up too much at the end of the day.