In its 10th year, Union Y fair seeks to touch all bases

In its 10th year, Union Y fair seeks to touch all bases

For those who insist “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” the YM-YWHA of Union County has proof to the contrary.

The organizers of the Y’s Annual Fair and Expo on Sunday, Nov. 20, have a treat they never offered before, specially geared to the political junkies in the community: a meal with U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance. The Republican representative for District 7 has offered to host the winner of a special drawing — in Washington if they make their own way there or, if they prefer, closer to home, in his district.

But aware that some see the fair as a chance to forget about political problems, chair Marc Hilton hastened to add that there will be all kinds of more traditional door prizes and raffles, as well as an array of programs for all ages.

He and his committee are proud of their record — this is the 10th year for an event initially staged as a one-time happening and organized each year with B’nai B’rith Tri-State Region. But, he said, they also know they face a challenge that comes with such longevity. “We want to offer the things that people have come to expect,” he said, “but we also tried to come up with new attractions.”

As Y program director Jani Jonas told NJ Jewish News, organizers are spared the stress of fund-raising because the fair is seen as a gift to members and the broader community, but they still want to attract a festive crowd.

On the new side, they will have a “Noah’s Ark” petting zoo for the kids for the first time, but Gizmo the Clown, who has become a fixture at the fair, will be back. A featured attraction will be performances by children’s choirs from the Jewish Educational Center and Golda Och Academy, and a set of klezmer music by perennial favorites, the Hester Street Band. An array of vendors will sell all kinds of jewelry, Judaica, clothes, cosmetics, and art. Shoppers will be able to earn some extra spending money by bringing their gold and silver to exchange for cash. And there will be kosher food and wines.

For the first time, cooking expert and humorous author of Not Just a Cookbook, Rochelle Rothman, will be selling her book and sharing her expertise, with tips on catering for Hanukka “lite.”

Also providing food for the mind will be a fair regular, historian Dr. Dennis Klein, head of the Jewish Studies Program at Kean University. He will give a talk titled “Jewish History: A Master Narrative.”

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