Baking, books, and family fun

Library to host annual mini-fair fundraiser

The town’s annual Mini-Fair and Book Sale, hosted by the Friends of the Secaucus Library, will be held Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In its 14th year, the event draws up to 5,000 visitors for what is considered the library’s largest community event, which raises thousands of dollars for a local history digitization and preservation project as well as educational and cultural programming.
The event features a huge book sale, a baking contest, carnival games, kid-friendly activities, food, and vendors.
Families can fill a bag with used books, movies, and CDs for $3.
“It is a nice, fun day for families and library supporters and people who haven’t been here before,” said Jenifer D. May, director of the Secaucus library. This is her third year as director and eighth year involved in the mini-fair event.

“It is a nice, fun day for families and library supporters and people who haven’t been here before.” – Jenifer May
“[It is a good day] to meet other members of the community, enjoy the food, [and] have a great afternoon,” she added.

Friendly support for extra programs

May hopes the event will raise $10,000 this year through a large book sale, bake sale, and raffles, among other activities. The funds go to the Friends of the Library, a non-profit organization that consists of students, parents, alumni, patrons, business, and professional groups interested in promoting the libraries mission.
“[The Friends of the Library] bring in “extras” that the library wouldn’t have the funds to provide,” said May.
The Friends of the Library pay for educational and cultural programming such as the extended story hour program, the museum membership program, and the children’s summer reading program prizes. The group also sponsors Children’s Art Month in November.
May hopes visitors to the fair will become members of the group. Annual individual membership is $10 and $5 for seniors.
“It is a good opportunity for people to see what Friends of the Library does throughout the year,” she said.
The event has up to 60 individuals either on staff or volunteering the day of between the library’s staff, Friends of Secaucus members, the Kiwanis Club, Unico, and the Knights of Columbus.
“We have all hands on deck staff-wise,” said May. “The DPW is a tremendous help,” she added.
Half the winnings of a fair-share raffle will go to the digitization project to preserve the town’s history electronically. The library has digitized issues of the Secaucus Home News from 1910-1993 and hopes to continue the effort to include more years. Because of the project, patrons can search through the Secaucus Home News electronically by keyword on any library computer.
People who participate in the raffle have a chance to win over $1,000. Tickets are $1 each and books of tickets are $10. The raffle will be drawn at 3 p.m. on the day of the fair.

Books, baking, and the Batmobile

What began as a book sale in Buchmuller Park next to the library’s old location has expanded to include carnival games, a baking contest and bake sale, more than 70 vendors, food, entertainment, and kid-friendly activities. The event takes up the entire library parking lot, all the green spaces and the story garden, and spills over into the building where the bake sale is held.
“People bring baked goods the morning of or the night before,” said May of the baking contest.
Usually up to 15-20 people enter the contest. Participants have to be there by 9 a.m. in the morning to be judged by a panel of five local residents with representatives from the library board, the Friends of the Library, and a few community leaders. Prizes may vary from year to year and can include a cookbook. The library welcomes entries in the following categories: cakes, pies, cookies/bars/muffins/cupcakes, and cheesecakes.
The book sale includes a few thousand books, mostly used that have either been donated to the library or are duplicates off the book shelves. DVDs and VHS tapes will also be sold. The Police Benevolent Association will give out free children’s books. Visitors to the fair can bring book donations, items for the White Elephant table, or a raffle basket worth $50 or more.
The fair offers kids a number of activities including a pie-eating contest, a chess tournament with a master chess player, costumed mascots, carnival games, free crafts, and face-painting. Local resident Angelo Marra’s replica of the Batmobile will also be on site.
For the first time this year, the mini-fair will have performers including the group Kulture Kool, which will lead a Bollywood dance class at 12 p.m. Other performances include CAST performance art group at 11 a.m. and a Secaucus mixed martial arts demonstration at 1 p.m.
Over 70 vendors are expected at the fair representing local organizations, businesses, artisans and craftspeople. The Meadowlands Hospital will conduct medical testing. Food vendors include Stefan’s hot dogs, Natoli’s pizza, Mausam, Filipino BBQ by the Philippine Society, Unico Italian Ice, and others.
To become a vendor, volunteer, or for more information call: (201) 330-2083 or visit
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at

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