Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

At Fair, Families Give Season a Proper Send-Off

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

At Fair, Families Give Season a Proper Send-Off

Article excerpt

RUTHERFORD -- Debra and Tyler Rutt of River Vale were ready for the end of summer.

But they'd taken their children, Jack and Juliet, to the beach one final time last month and were looking to do something different this Labor Day weekend to mark the season's finale.

They said they found it by strolling up and down Park Avenue in Rutherford for the 41st annual Rutherford Street Fair on Monday.

"This sort of gets us all in the mind-set that fall is coming," Debra Rutt said as her children looked at the toys a vendor was selling. "There are activities, antiques and food. It sort of segues us into that fall mind-set. It is kind of the kickoff for us."

The Rutt family was just one of thousands of families who walked, shoulder-to-shoulder, along Park Avenue on Monday past a wide array of vendors, activities, food and other attractions. Antiques, records, books and trinkets were for sale; various rides were set up throughout the borough's downtown; the smell of grilled meat and pretzels wafted through the air, and the continuous live music gave people looking for a moment to sit down something to hum along to.

Organizers also had a mobile New Jersey Hall of Fame museum for the curious, and a beer garden for those who wanted a break from the heat.

Like the Rutts, many other fairgoers said it was a way to celebrate the end of busy summers and spend time with their families.

Matthew Roccella and his family walked from Lyndhurst to enjoy the festivities. Roccella said it has become a "family tradition" to spend Labor Day at the street fair rather than doing the traditional end-of-summer beach trip.

"Why would I get stuck in traffic when I have something that is just as fun just a short walk away?" he said, holding his 20-month- old son, Tommy. "It's nice to listen to the music, eat some food, meet with your family and friends and support your local community."

Roccella's attitude is exactly what Cliff Witmyer, the president of Cliffhanger Productions -- which plays host to the annual street fair -- said that he wants people to feel.

"When people go out on Labor Day weekend, they want to do kid- friendly stuff and family stuff," Witmyer said. …

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