ROXBURY, NJ – After Brian Stellingwerf stood before the Roxbury Mayor and Council on Tuesday and thanked them, Roxbury Mayor Jim Rilee felt the need to correct the Chester resident. Stellingwerf, said the mayor, was in the wrong.
“It’s us who should be thanking you,” said Rilee. And so he went on to do just that.
Stellingwerf was an 11-year-old schoolboy living in Roxbury when, inspired to do something to help the less fortunate in town, he and a buddy came up with an idea for a carnival to raise money. That was 14 years ago.
Stellingwerf’s creation – the Annual Children’s Carnival – is now a Roxbury institution and, although he no longer lives in town, Stellingwerf continues to manage it. This year’s version takes place Sunday, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Horseshoe Lake Park in Eyland Avenue.
The Children’s Carnival will have more than 30 homemade “carnival style” games that will cost only 25 cents to play. Every contestant wins a prize every time.
Every quarter goes to Roxbury Social Services in the form of gift cards redeemable at the Walmart in Ledgewood. The gift cards are used to buy sneakers for needy kids to wear when they go back to school in September. The carnival, run by volunteers, has raised nearly $25,000 since its inception and provided more than 1,450 gift cards, said Stellingwerf.
Rilee said he finds it hard to believe that Stellingwerf is still putting on the carnival. “I think it’s … impressive that he still does it today, 14 years later,” said the mayor. “That’s highly incredible and greatly appreciated.
Those interested in volunteering to help at the carnival are asked to call 908-879-7282 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers of all ages are needed.