CALDWELL, NJ - One could tell by the long line to get in, by the crowds around the tables and the sheer mass of humanity squeezed into the small space usually reserved for the parking of firetrucks, this was going to be the biggest Caldwell Volunteer Fire Department Tricky-Tray fundraiser ever.

An event which always follows the lighting of the town’s Christmas Tree on the first Saturday evening in Dec., the 2015 Tricky-Tray on Dec. 5 brought an unprecedented crowd into the CVFD building, where revelers enjoyed performances by All 4 Dance, a local dance studio, as well as some face-time with the 'Big Guy,' Santa Claus, himself.

“This was the biggest one yet, by far,” said the First Assistant Chief of the CVFD and the man in charge of the 2015 Tricky-Tray event Andrew Pollara.

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“I think everyone could tell from the size of the crowd that this was going to be something special and how good it felt to see all those people here,” Pollara said, adding “while we sold the most tickets ever, it will be some time before I will know the exact dollar figures.”

“However, I can tell you that we raised $7,000 last year and, with that money, we bought new flashlights for every member of the department.”

“We're hoping that the total will be significantly even higher this year and, of course, whatever monies we get will go toward new rescue gear to be used by our volunteers,” he said.

“This was the 18th year that we've done this and, to tell you the truth, it takes a good four months of extremely hard work on our part to pull this off,
 he added.

“That said, I can't thank the local businesses that donate the goods and services that make all this possible enough, they're the real heroes for the Caldwell Fire Department,” said Pollara.

“So, I would say this: shop local, dine local and, in the end, as residents of the Caldwells, we all benefit,” he said.

All photos taken by W. L. Bill Allen, Jr.