For 11 years in the Silverton section of Toms River, the Silverton Volunteer Fire Company has held an annual fall festival for the community at its firehouse on Kettle Creek Road.
This year’s event took place on Oct. 6.
Silverton Volunteer Fire Company Vice President Michael Cocco served as the co-chairman of the fall festival with John Addalia.
“Back in the day, one of our ex-chiefs and fire commissioners used to do an open house here and that faded away. The fire company wanted to bring it back in a different way. The fire company started with a poker run and then created the fall festival, making it a community event. The event just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” Cocco said.
This year’s event was dedicated to Frank Donnelly, who died this year.
Donnelly had been a member of the Silverton Volunteer Fire Company since 1982. He was also a former fire commissioner for Toms River Fire District No. 2.
Cocco said the fall festival requires a year of planning. He reported that the fire company has already started planning the 2019 event.
Cocco said all of the fire company’s members come together and help put together the special day.
“The day is all about fire safety and knowing what to do in case there is a fire; to know we are there for them; that we as a community will support and help each other.,” Cocco said.
Addalia said the fall festival is also a thank you to the community.
“The event is also all about telling the public thank you for supporting us. The fire company is a volunteer organization. We run 100 percent off of donations from the community and we just want to say thank you,” he said.
During the fall festival, live music played, children bounced around in four bounce houses, there was a dunk tank and guests had a chance to sit in the fire trucks that were on display.
“I think people thought Mike Cocco and I were crazy to suggest this event about 11 years ago. The fall festival has been great for our community. It has been great for our firehouse. Our camaraderie and brotherhood is everything. Everyone pitches in. I think the community would be greatly disappointed if we ever stopped,” Addalia said.
The Martinez family was among the families that attended the event.
“Our family lives up the block so we came here to support the firehouse,” Melissa Martinez said.
She revealed that her family has been coming to the fall festival for five years.
“We enjoy it every year and the kids love it,” Edward Martinez said.