Labor Day Weekend signals the end of summer, and this year also the final day of the inaugural Lakehurst Farmer's Market.
Each Sunday beginning on June 24, a number of vendors from Ocean and Monmouth Counties brought their goods to Lake Horicon for an experiment that organizers have deemed a success.
"We've absolutely met our expectations and then some," said Janie Baranyay, a member of the Lakehurst Revitalization Committee, the group of resident volunteers who worked with Mayor Harry Robbins to bring the plan to fruition. With its 11th and final week this summer on Sunday, Sept. 2 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Baranyay wondered where the time went.
"It's just come upon us so quickly," she said.
Plans for a weekly market in the borough were first discussed in February. At an informal mayor's meeting in March, those talks began to develop further and asked residents to pitch in and help attract vendors to the 22-acre lake.
Lake Horicon was a prime spot for a market, Baranyay said, as many motorists take Union Avenue east through the borough's downtown to get from Route 70 to 37.
"We thought, 'what can we do to promote that?' " she said.
To participate, vendors paid a $20 fee, which may be bumped up another $5 next year.
"We kind of wanted to see what the response was" this year, Baranyay said. Starting a market meant learning about and complying with regulations. "It was a learning experience for us."
Some Sundays were busy, with cars lining up on Union Avenue, especially after mass ended. Other weeks were slower, Baranyay said. But overall, organizers believe the market was a worthwhile experience.
"It created a nice sense of community," Baranyay said, which was "something that we didn't anticipate but are glad that did."
Rob Canali, owner of the Cedar Post in Lakehurst, said that while the market was "worthwhile," in his experience much of the clientele came from the borough.
"It was something mostly for the locals," he said. "The people seemed to enjoy it. It was something different to have at the lake."
Residents from other municipalities did attend the market, Baranyay said, adding that some out-of-towners learned that Lakehurst does, in fact, have a lake.
"We're such a small town, but we are a town. People enjoy that small-town atmosphere and we want to promote ourselves that way," Baranyay said.
Building on that success, the Lakehurst Revitalization Committee will plans to hold a fall festival on Saturday, Oct. 13. A committee meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at Lake Horicon to discuss plans.
Members hope to host activities including a guess the pumpkin weight contest, a hayride leading to a pumpkin patch, face painting and pony rides.
Additionally, the committee is asking residents to volunteer to help build a concession stand and restrooms at Lake Horicon this winter, a project that Mayor Harry Robbins called "great" and "long overdue."
Those interested in helping can attend the upcoming meeting or call borough hall at 732-657-4151.