The Friends of the Secaucus Library hosted their popular annual mini-fair on Sept. 17, complete with a book sale, petting zoo, and several writing contests, all to raise money for the library.
Attendees had the option to buy a bag for $5 and fill it with books and movies. But residents were also telling new stories as they competed in the library’s literary contests.
First place in the adult short story competition went to Brittany McFarlane, who wrote “The Letter.” In the teen short story contest, there was a tie for first place. Those two winners were Avni Pande for “Just You and the Mountain” and Catie DeRienzo for “Jazz Pipes.”
The youth short story winner was Athanasia Chandras for “Daily Puzzle.” All short story winners received a $100 gift card, either in the form of an Amazon Gift Card or Visa Gift Card.
Shoppers had plenty to enjoy at the fair. There were tables filled with clothes, jewelry, and a “treasure table” full of knick-knacks.
At the petting zoo, residents got to pet bunnies, baby chicks, and goats, and could take pony rides.
Resident Rosa Messaoudi came with her children Mounir, 10, and Akila, 6. “We came out to do some shopping,” Rosa said.
“I like riding the ponies,” Mounir said.
The Secaucus Animal Shelter was at the fair with a puppy named Indie, 5 months, and three sister kittens, 5 months. The kittens were found in an auto shop and are now looking for a home.
The animal shelter informed residents about their adoption process and other upcoming events like their Halloween costume dinner dance on Friday, Oct. 28.
Resident Michele Dragona was looking at the kittens. She said, “I love animals. I have a cat in the house, but I can’t have any more because he has feline HIV.” Feline HIV is highly contagious for other cats, but not for humans.
Clarendon School student Sebastian Garcia, 6, came to buy books and toys. “I like to read a little bit,” Garcia said. Other than the bag of books he filled, he also stuffed his backpack with crayons, pencils, and a toy dinosaur. His grandmother, Gloria, said they came for a walk and saw the festival.
“I’ve lived here many years, and he’s lived here his whole life, but his mother lives in the Philippines,” Gloria said. The two spend days like this together and playing all the time.
“This town is wonderful. There are great people.” – Walter Moss.
Longtime resident Walter Moss said he loves the library and came to the fair to get a Secaucus Library t-shirt.
“They don’t have them this year, though,” Moss said. “I come here looking to enjoy the community, and to see different people, and puppies.” Moss attended the fair with his wife Carmela.
“This town is wonderful. There are great people, and the best mayor hands down, and the best schools and teachers,” Moss added.
Retired librarian and Rutherford resident Andrea Battel said she came to the fair specifically for the book fair. She worked for the Federal Court Library for 30 years before retiring.
One resident sold organic beauty and health products for Amway. “I lived her for 20 years, and just started selling these products for the last three months,” Sonia Khasria said. The products included rice chips, popcorn made with green tea, vitamins, and energy drinks are made with no sugar.
During the mini-fair, the Friends also recognized the efforts of Committee Chairman Frank Pinto, who announced that he would be stepping down from his volunteer position. Many of Pinto’s family members were present to join the celebration when he was presented with a plaque by the Friends of the Library. The plaque was mounted in the library’s adult reading room following the presentation.
Jarrod Smeyers Jr. won a raffle at the event and took home the grand prize of $1,083.50.
The event, now in its 19th year, raised nearly $5,500. Part of the money raised will be used to support cultural and educational events at the library, such as the Shakespeare in the Garden performance that the Friends hosted this past July, and live concerts and lectures.
Money raised by the tricky tray raffle and 50-50 will be used to continue the Friends’ Technology Initiative, which provides new technology, equipment and programming for library users of all ages.