NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence Street Fair was an overwhelming success on Sunday, as Springfield Avenue bustled with people out to have a good time and enjoy the last sun Summer had to offer. The fair was a great mix of food, and rides like a blowup slide, bouncey house, and rock climbing wall, vendors of all sorts, carnival-style games like ring toss and rubber duck grab, and a small farm for petting goats, pigs, and sheep from Kafka Farms.
Street fair organizer and local business owner Michelle Brugger, owner of Karate World in New Providence and Board member of the New Providence Business and Professional Association, said she was “Absolutely happy. We have a beautiful day and probably our biggest fair so far.” She added, “Vendor space was sold out this year, leaving only lawn space for latecomers” to set up try to appeal to this ample crowd.
Food was the dominant smell in the air, as music echoed loudly down the street. Grilled meats sizzled on the grill, creating tantalizing smoke wafting towards street goers. Vendors selling gyros alongside foot long hot dogs and oversized pretzels, Italian ice and ice cream, popped corn, fresh cut french fries, and of course, classic homemade lemonade, made The New Providence Street Fair the place to eat on this sunny day.
Within this mix of usual street fair offerings was a human story under this veil of ordered chaos. Paul Dormont of the local Lions Club shared that his chapter “provides support for the Lions Hospital in Basking Ridge. We provide support to the volunteers that give a lot of their own time down there.” The Lions Club also “provides support services for homecoming veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan to help them adjust back into the community.”
Doug Sisk and Christine O'neill were on hand to represent The New Jersey Sharing Network. The organization is dedicated to raising awareness about tissue and organ donations. Doug is an organ recipient, having received a kidney and pancreas transplant from the generosity of a donor.
Christine O'neill stated, “we are a donor family that wants to dispel some of the myths about registering as a donor.” One myth in particular Christine wants to dispel is that “once you're an organ donor many people believe the hospital won't take care of you, because they need your organs.” Christine's son John died at age seventeen while playing football for New Providence. John was a registered donor whose liver, kidneys, pancreas, heart valves, veins, and skin went to save the lives of others. Christine stressed how the nurses at Morristown Memorial “did everything to save my son John.”
Then there was the face of Nicholas Tarabokia on the sign adorning the Cancer Stinks table. Nicholas battled cancer for almost four years. At the age of five, feeling very frustrated about the disease, Nicholas wrote Cancer Stinks on a piece of paper. On his seventh birthday his battle with cancer ended. Nicholas was nowhere to be seen at this table; instead he was happily running around the street fair. He has been cancer-free since June 7, 2009.
Amy Tarabokia, Nickolas' mother, proudly stated, “this is our first official day in business, and our website, www.cancer-stinks.com will be up and running soon.” Proceeds from Cancer Stinks go towards Nicholas' dream of “a cancer free world.”
The New Providence Street Fair was about people coming together for different reasons and enjoying a Sunday afternoon, supporting good causes, selling goods, and connecting with other people. This fair provided what any good fair on Main Street America strives to achieve – community at its best.