WHO WE ARE
The Bayonne Hometown Fair Association is a non-profit with the State of NJ comprised entirely
of unpaid Bayonne residents and business owners who volunteer their time to bring quality, community entertainment to the City of Bayonne.
In 2013 local business owner Carrissa Golomb of Reese's Hair Pieces on 24th Street was determined to bring back the Bayonne Hometown Fair that she remembered so fondly from her childhood. She created a petition and was thrilled by the outpouring of support from her fellow Bayonne citizens. However, she was unable to find the support she needed from the administration to make her dream a reality for Bayonne. In 2014 when Mayor James Davis was elected, all of that changed. By the summer of 2015 the Bayonne Hometown Fair Association was taking shape and the Bayonne Hometown Fair made its triumphant return to the City.
Although smaller in size than the Fair of old, this allows for a more condensed version of the Fair that is easier for citizens attending to enjoy the many sights and activities that are offered, easier for all citizens to get around the city, and there are no longer long stretches of empty streets in between the fun. Strolling the Avenue you will find from it's first year in 2015 the Fair has grown to include vendors from our fair city as well as others from surrounding areas, food trucks and stands of all kinds, two stages, one with paid, professional musicians and one focused on community and child centered entertainment, inflatable (bounce houses) and mechanical rides, beer garden run by local bar owner Al Pasiechnik of The Vic Tavern, games, characters, and so much more.
What does it take to put on the Fair?
Mostly it takes a lot of time and energy, but it also takes a lot of support and funding.
The Bayonne Hometown Fair's budget is over $40,000 annually. How could this be? What makes up this budget? Roughly half of the budget goes to live entertainment. These costs include live performers, stages including stage hands to run them as well as sound systems and technicians. Nearly a quarter of it in 2019 was taken up by the expense of adding just two game trailers, which took five years to make possible due to funding constraints. But as always, we try our best to give the people what they want! And let's not forget about boring things like insurance, rentals, and advertising costs.
We are extremely lucky to have the support of the City of Bayonne to keep the Fair safe and clean; support from Mayor Davis and the City Council is truly what makes all of this possible. The Office of Emergency Management, the Bayonne Fire Department, and the Bayonne Police Department work so hard to keep us and our fellow citizens safe every single day, and yet they still find it in them to go above and beyond and put in all of the extra effort required for a Fair of this magnitude. The Department of Public Works is in constant motion from start to finish providing support and keeping Bayonne clean and beautiful in the heat while Fair-goers have fun. The Department of Health and Fire Prevention are with us every step of the way to make sure all of the delicious food is prepared safely and that all of the rides are safe for our children. Bayonne UEZ & SID make it possible for the inflatable rides and bounce houses to be free to all of our children. The Parking Authority is there supporting us and making sure there will be clear roads and that it will be possible for the vendors to bring their wares. Every step we can count on our fellow citizens in City Hall, and we are grateful.
Just so, we also count on our Bayonne Business Leaders as well. While vendor fees cover about half of the Fair's annual budget, the rest of it is primarily comprised of sponsorships and donations from Bayonne businesses and citizens. It was the generosity of RWJ Barnabas as a Platinum sponsor in our fifth year that made it possible to add carnival games to the Fair's entertainment. BCB Community Bank and CarePoint Health are two more local businesses that have been substantial sponsors every year, along with Bayonne Exterminating and R Kellner Agency. Business owners also help in other ways; McCabe Ambulance is on site every year to safeguard our citizens health. When Eating Contests were introduced in 2019 Judicke's Bakery provided all of the delicious donuts and Retro Fitness provided a prize for both winners.
We are lucky to have a dedicated, hard working board running the association who volunteer their time and energy- and their businesses as meeting spaces. With no salaries to pay and no office rental costs to shell out, we are able to keep our operating costs very low. At times, the fine craftsmanship of Bayonne merchants is more than we can afford, but it is our top priority to shop local whenever possible. It can be difficult to balance, but we strive to do our very best. The deep respect we have for the merchants of Bayonne is what originally lead us to establish the Bayonne Discount for vendors who reside in Bayonne, and then later to add the additional Brick and Mortar Discount for vendors who have storefronts within city limits.
The Bayonne Hometown Fair is truly an entire community experience. Every facet of Bayonne life comes together in beautiful harmony to make for a weekend of fun and family.