MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ - Saturday afternoon the crowds descended upon Deerfield School for the annual PTO Fall Festival, a gift for the community from the district’s Parent Teachers Organizations.
Jeannie Ruban, this year’s chairperson and coordinator, said she “grew up in town with my two brothers” and remembers when her mother, Jean Perrotta, first became involved in the event “in the 1970’s.
“I followed in her footsteps,” she said, along with the rest of the family. Her mother and her mother-in-law were sitting together at a table on Saturday, selling packets of tickets for rides and food.
The PTO Fall Festival is a self-funded event, so they are able to keep the prices of rides and food down, she explained. There is no admission fee and some activities, including the potato sack races and dance contests, are completely free for participants. Tony and Marie Love, otherwise known as “The Spinners,” provided the soundtrack for the festival, as well as the potato sacks, and prizes for the dance contests. Earlier in the day they spun their tunes for the Cop Trot crowd.
On the middle school field were games and all sorts of attractions, from bounce houses and other inflatables, games, face-painting, various color hair sprays for the latest look, and rides. Outside, people flocked to the Zeppole, lemonade and fried Oreos truck and the yogurt stand, as well as the serving area in front of the grills, where volunteers cooked up hotdogs and hamburgers by the dozens, while other volunteers sold cold drinks, giant pretzels, and other treats. Picnic tables provided spots for people to sit and rest.
Other volunteers sold mums, pumpkins and straw bales, and still more took care of the tricky tray. All told, Ruban said it takes 229 volunteers to put on the Fair. “The teachers are incredibly supportive, they give up their Saturday to work on the Fair, as do the parents and Middle School Kids, who can use the hours to fulfill their community service requirement.”