JACKSON – You couldn’t find a better place to spend an autumn day than the annual Craft Fair and Oktoberfest hosted by Jackson Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 Station 55.
The indoor-outdoor fundraising event featured a variety of vendors in two areas of the firehouse and introduced a late afternoon-evening Oktoberfest that provided entertainment for children and adults.
Assistant Fire Chief Carl “CJ” Halpin and member Brandy Laboy provided a little history about the event to The Jackson Times. “This is the 13th year for the Craft Fair and our first year to add the Oktoberfest,” Laboy said.
Halpin said, “This is the 13th annual Craft Fair and we have over 50 vendors – inside and out – and all are local vendors. They come out and rent a table and sell whatever they want to sell and we try to bring in as much of the public as possible for more exposure.”
A few dozen firefighters helped out, running the event throughout the day.
There were numerous raffles and gift baskets you could win. “You have to be in it to win it,” Laboy added.
“The 50/50 is up to $780 at this point,” Halpin interjected with excitement.
The craft fair offered up some interesting items from handmade signs and holiday decorations to jewelry, charms, Pampered Chief, candles, wood carved items and more.
Manahawkin resident Andrew Holman decided to become a vendor for the event and sold some comics, Star Wars action figures and some Funko Pops which was a little different from the items sold at a Craft Fair.
Outside, firefighters Dan Swing, Giuseppe Sergi, Dan Duffy Patricia Case and others were among those helping out at the grill preparing sausage, hot dogs and other delicious items.
The grill team was sporting Oktoberfest aprons and were also getting into the music being played, by the DJ and by the live band Bavarski.
“We travel around all over the country to play at Oktoberfests just like this one,” a member of Bavarski said.
Icarus Brewery provided a number of German and domestic beers for consumption. For the kids, there was pumpkin painting and several inflatable games that they could spend their time bouncing around in.
Later in the day as Bavarski got into their full polka music stride, the couple of George and Laura came out to the parking lot per request of a member of the band to give instruction on how to dance the polka.
While they didn’t want to share their last name, they did share their talent. “Just bounce around,” George told one attendee who wanted to learn the dance style.
Jackson Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 Station 55 is in Fire District #3 “which is the northeast section of Jackson Township and borders Howell Township, Jackson Mills, Freehold Township and Lakewood Township,” the Assistant Chief said. “We’re in the smallest area but it is the most populated as of a couple years ago. Jackson Mills is probably right behind us with population.”