BELMAR, NJ — Does your family’s treasure trove of memorabilia include anything from World War I — letters, photographs, sovenirs, artifacts? The Belmar Historical Society is inviting you to bring these items to “The Spirit of the Doughboy” benefit concert on Tuesday, August 8.
That’s where the society will display its own World War I exhibit, featuring a large poster of the Doughboy statue that stands in Memorial Field on West Railroad Avenue, the plaque that’s on the statue bearing the 102 Belmar residents who served in the war, letters by service members sent to loved ones at home and a telegram that bears sad news.
Headlined by the Pat Roddy Band, the August 8 concert is a fundraiser for the ironic monument, which is in need of major repairs after it was vandalized nearly a year ago. The event will be held at the Shillelagh Club, 815 16th Avenue, from 7 to 10 p.m., with food being donated by the aptly named Doughboys Authentic Wood Fired Pizza, 507 Main Street.
In recent months, the borough has been rallying the community to help raise the $17,000 needed to restore the statue to its original glory. What makes the undertaking even more relevant is that 2017 marks the U.S. Centennial Commemoration of World War I, which the nation entered on April 6, 1917.
Erected in 1930 to recognize 102 borough residents who served in World War I, the statue of the iconic infantryman stands in the small park, also known as “Doughboy Park,” that’s visible from the Route 35 bridge. In September 2016, vandals broke off a portion of its rifle and loosened the towering figure from its base.
Because the statue is made of pressed copper, Belmar Historical Society has run into difficulties obtaining bids for the repair project — receiving only one with a hefty $17,000 price tag from a company specializing in metalwork restoration.
Since then, fundraising for the repair work has been sluggish — until a recent push by the borough that breathed new life into the effort. A new, dedicated link to “Donate to Repair the Doughboy Statue” on the borough’s website has raised some $2,500 in recent weeks.
Tickets for the benefit concert are priced at $25 in advance and $30 at the door. They are available at the following locations:
- Belmar Museum, 900 E Street (annex of the Union Firehouse), which is open Monday, 2 to 4 p.m., and Thursday, 10 a.m. to noon.
- Nostalgic Nonsense Vintage Clothing, located at the corner of Main Street and Ninth Avenue.
- Salon Marsal, 708 10th Avenue (closed on Monday and Tuesday).
Make checks payable to Belmar Historical Society, which will also accept checks by mail at: Belmar Historical Society, P.O. Box A, Belmar, NJ 07719. Advance purchase tickets will be held at the door.
For more information about ticket purchases or donating food or refreshments to the event, contact the Belmar Historical Society at 908-309-3380.
Note: Roselle Park is one of eight municipalities in New Jersey that have Doughboy statues.
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