07728 Freefold Fall 2021

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FALL 2021



Borough Bites Brock Farms Family Affair Joy of the Theater Spooky Season is Upon Us

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FALL 2021

07728 Brock Farms is a

family affair



rock Farms Home and Garden World is a family affair. “My father is 88 and he still works seven days, 14 to 15 hours a day,” Ed Brock Jr. said of his father, Ed Brock Sr. Brock Farms essentially began 80 years ago when the elder Brock set up a blueberry stand outside his home in Colts Neck on Matthews Road and Route 34. He was eight years old at the time. His parents encouraged his love of the land, farming and gardening. In the late 1940s, the small stand evolved into a full-fledged business first with a location in his hometown of Colts Neck. The business grew in popularity as Brock Farms became the go-to place for produce, bedding plants and flowers, garden supplies and equipment. In 1958, the Brock family opened a Freehold location on Route 9. Nursery products were added in the early 1960s. In 1986, the locations shifted from produce to focus on garden/landscaping supplies. As long-time, local experts in the horticultural area, they take tremendous pride in their homegrown products. All of their plants are nurtured with care, ensuring a healthy and bountiful addition to one’s home and garden. In the midst of the fall season, mums of all different sizes are in high demand along with the pumpkins and a variety of gourds. “We shop around for the best qualFALL 2021

ity product,” said Brock Jr., who said their shopping adventures take them across the Garden State to various greenhouses and nurseries, as well as some trips out of state. “We may visit up to 28 greenhouses a week.” The Brocks farm over 700 acres of land in Freehold, Smithburg, Deerfield, Bridgeton and Colts Neck, where their own nursery products are grown. The Freehold location spans 42 acres with a wide spread of home décor and giftware items for all seasons. The store is a must see during the seasons especially during the “Falloween” and Christmas seasons. Staff begins decorating the store for Falloween after Labor Day and the Christmas season opens on Nov. 1. Brock Jr. said the store during the seasons is “dressed to the nines” with initially the vision of his late mom Jean and now his sister Linda Arcoleo. “Our biggest season is the spring,” Brock Jr. said. “Next is the Christmas season and fall is the third if I had to categorize seasons.” Brock Jr. said his family is fortunate for how their business is faring during the novel coronavirus pandemic with people investing time at home whether gardening outside or creating a backyard oasis. “I have to say we are really blessed to be open,” he said, noting their brave staff. “It is a very scary time and they stayed with us.” The pandemic has caused product and material demand to skyrocket, which has impacted scheduling orders for items including garden statues, pottery, Christmas trees and nativity sets. “We have never seen anything like this,” Brock Jr. said. “It’s not just our industry that is impacted.” For over 60 years, Brock Farms’ commitment has always been to the customer. The Brock family is continuously researching, developing and utilizing the latest techniques in the landscape industry to serve the community. “We try to keep up and stay on top of new trends,” he said. ■








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In this Issue: Brock Farms - A Family Affair Borough Bites Cheryl Polverino Joy of Theater Spooky Season in Freehold Following Freehold

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Owner of Mateo’s tries to provide an experience with each dish

udy Nolasco was about 18 years old when he left his home country of Guatemala in 1999 and emigrated to the United States. “This beautiful country opened its doors to me and gave me so many opportunities. My first job was as dishwasher in an Italian restaurant, that was also the first time that I was working in the restaurant business. I did not speak any English back then. “After a few years working as a dishwasher, I learned how to make salads and sandwiches and later I learned how to cook and make pizzas. After that I got a few more jobs in pizzerias as a chef and pizza maker and my love for Italian food grew,” Nolasco said. He became very passionate about Italian food. “I loved to experiment and create new dishes and my biggest dream was to open my own restaurant one day. Seventeen years later I would know that this dream would become a reality,” he said. Nolasco now owns Mateo’s Italian Cuisine & Pizzeria on West Main Street, affectionately known as Mateo’s or Mateo’s Pizza. “I like to offer great quality and for that we use fresh ingredients and the best products in the market, but the most important is that everything is made at the moment of please see BITES, page 7

FALL 2021



“It feels like yesterday when I decided to open Mateo’s. Three years have passed with the blink of an eye. I am very grateful for these three years in business. To hear from my customers that I have the best food in town and how much they love Mateo’s is the best reward we can receive,” Nolasco said. “I just want to thank [everyone] for [their] business and support. Mateo’s journey of success will continue for sure for a long time.” ■


continued from page 6

an order, that is what makes Mateo’s food outstanding. I try my best for every meal that I sell to be remarkable for my customer to enjoy that experience and to return to my restaurant,” he said. Mateo’s doesn’t have a signature dish, but instead an extensive menu “with a lot of options to offer all tastes,” Nolasco said. From the brick oven is the Greek Brick with green peppers, roasted peppers, green olives, Kalamata olives and feta cheese; Mateo’s Brick Roni Sticks, which are classic Neapolitan with pepperoni sticks; and the Prosciutto Arugula Brick, with pecorino romano cheese and extra virgin olive oil. Aside from typical pizza choices, there is ranch chicken with grilled chicken, bacon, red onion and ranch dressing; chicken caesar pizza with grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, pecorino romano and caesar dressing; chicken bruschetta, with tomatoes, garlic, red onions and basil; and Nutella pizza. There are a handful of signature pizza pies, such as the upside down square, vodka square, Sicilian, San Marzano square and grandma square. Alternative pizza crusts can be gluten-free or made of cauliflower. Some appetizers include rice balls, bruschetta tomato crostini and pepperoni knots. There are also homemade soups, sides, rolls, calzones, wraps, panini, hot and cold heroes, pasta dishes/baked pasta, meat entrees – and even burgers. Seafood includes fra diavolo, shrimp and clams, calamari marinara and mussels in a white wine sauce. There is also a choice of fish and shrimp meals. Healthy and gluten-free options include a variety of grilled chicken dishes, pasta primavera and pasta puttanesca. For children, ravioli, meatballs, pasta and penne vodka are on the menu. Mateo’s also offers a party menu and catering. Although Nolasco is humble about his contributions to the community, he said Mateo’s has sponsored local schools’ soccer teams, and has done a few fundraisers with churches and other organizations in New Jersey. 07728

“Downtown Freehold has supported my business since I started; the community gave a great response to my food. I love being part of this community because there is always something going on in Freehold, from events to concerts which attracts a lot of people and which is great for the business,” he said. That community was even more supportive during the COVID-19 lockdown, which was not too far removed from when Mateo’s first opened. “[At] the beginning it was very hard for me, mainly because I had to close my entire dining area, but later I was able to survive because of takeout and deliveries. I received a lot of support from the community which helped my business grow. A lot of people got to know and tried my food from the pandemic,” he said. And now, the restaurant will be celebrating its third anniversary.


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FALL 2021

Upon Retirement, Former Library Assistant Reclaims Freehold Township’s



heryl Cook-Polverino had a 30-year career as a librarian before retiring and devoting herself to illuminating Freehold Township’s historical legacy. “I was with the Monmouth County Library System,” said Cook-Polverino, who is vice chair of the Freehold Township Historic Preservation Commission and is the township historian. While still a student, she began working as a page at the Eastern Branch Library in Shrewsbury. When she graduated high school, she became full-time and started working at the front desk. “I started right out of high school, it was my first job,” she said. “I actually started in 1969 and worked through 1999, when I

retired. I worked there for 22 years. I went from junior library assistant to senior to supervising library assistant. “I wanted to go further in my career and there was an opening at library headquarters in Manalapan at the collection development level,” she said. “The library was converting to the Dewey Decimal System and I was actually training the librarians to get on board.” According to Cook-Polverino, the transition to computers was not without its challenges. “When we went computerized, it was another ‘wonderful’ experience, I say that tongue-in-cheek,” she said. “I had to train the computer specialists to learn to work with our checkout systems. “So we sat down with them and helped them write the language that actually became the computerized library checkout system

and the catalog system and all the things that go with it. We started computerization in the mid- to late-’70s and we didn’t really finish until late in the ’70s, it took five or six years. “I moved from Shrewsbury into Manalapan in 1992 and became part of the Collection Development Office. I started to make my way to the top of the office and I stayed until 1999. When my boss retired, they put me in his post. “It had been 30 years and it was time to move on. It just kind of fell into place all along the way. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and you just have to trust that. I had a lot of good people helping me along the way. My bosses were fantastic. And working in a library, you can’t help but learn things. “I retired in June 1999, and was appointed in November to the historic preservation commission, which kind of became my fulltime job because there was so much going on, with setting up museums and trying to find funding and all kinds of things like that. “It was the right fit at the right time. Now historic preservation work is what I do.” Shortly after she was appointed to Historic Preservation Commission, which is charged with protecting and preserving the township’s historical resources and sites, her friend and mentor Nancy Dubois Wood took her on a tour of the township’s shuttered historical properties. “Nancy said one day, ‘I’m going to take you in the car and show you all these places,’ Cook-Polverino recalled, “and when we saw please see LEGACY, page 10


FALL 2021

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the places,’ I asked, ‘Nancy, why aren’t these open as museums?’ “ “There’s never been anybody with an interest to do it,” Wood responded. “Well, you know what?” CookPolverino said, “I’m recently retired, I’m a former library person and I think we can do this together.” “We had three properties in the township,” she explained, “on Wemrock Road, West Freehold Schoolhouse and Oakley Farm, which is over 300 years old and was just sitting there, and Georgia Road Schoolhouse, on the corner of Jackson Mills and Georgia Road. “I’m a can-do person. I said, ‘This is sad, these beautiful buildings need to be opened up,’ ” said Cook-Polverino, who is currently vice chair of the commission, which is charged with protecting and preserving the township’s historical resources and sites. “We have 300 years of history, a museum of early education from the 1800s through 1954, and the Oakley Farm history. “So we started out with the West Freehold Schoolhouse as our first project,” she said. “It’s a museum and it had furniture, all the desks and the teacher’s desk. The only thing we had to do was the blackboards. They had been given away when it closed in 1935 so we had to paint blackboard on the walls.” Cook-Polverino, who retired in 1999 as supervising library assistant with the Monmouth County Library System, is an unabashed fan of Freehold Township, which was incorporated in 1693, and where she has lived for 28 years. The qualify-of-life in the township, she said, continues to attract people moving from out-of-area. “The township is a good fit, that’s why everybody wants to live here,” she said. “People are moving out of the city, out of Staten Island and moving here. They’re moving to Freehold Township. “I love Freehold, my ancestors are from Freehold and Farmingdale and came here in the 1600s. I just love that hometown feeling I get, dealing with everybody from top to the bottom. “The camaraderie, the fact that the neighborhood I live in is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the township. I know everybody. People have been here since the 1950s. We are just one big family,” she said. “When I moved into the neighborhood it was like I moved in with my sisters and brothers. When somebody moves in we have a welcome committee and make sure they know this is a nice friendly neighborhood. “It’s like when I grew up, you knew everybody in your neighborhood. My husband Sam was a fireman in East Freehold. When my husband passed away, there were 100 people gathered in my front yard. It was a beautiful tribute – and that is why I live in Freehold Township!” Her passion for history is evident in everything she does. Another mentor was FALL 2021

Kay Hall, who, along with her husband Charlie, was the historian for Howell Township. “They had redone the Ardena Schoolhouse,” said Cook-Polverino. “She was my teacher, she showed me how to do it, told me what to do. I met with her a few times and then we just opened up the [West Freehold] schoolhouse because it was perfectly ready to open since everything is still there on Wemrock Road. By 2002, it had become clear that a source of funding was needed for the restoration projects and in 2003 Cook-Polverino founded the Freehold Township Heritage Society to raise funds for preservation and restoration of the sites. “The township Historic Preservation Commission is not allowed to make money,” she explained, “and we had to find a way to raise funds to support these properties. I started the heritage society so we could apply for grants and help.” In 2013, Cook-Polverino was recognized by Monmouth County with the Jane G. Clayton Award, which cited her efforts, including establishing the Oakley Farm Museum, which opened in 2002; founding of the Freehold Township Heritage Society in 2003; efforts to restore the Georgia Road Schoolhouse from 2004 to its reopening in 2010, as well as “promoting educational programs and facilities to promote knowledge of local history.” However, Cook-Polverino shared, it has become difficult to carry on the society’s preservation and restoration work in large measure due to a shortage of members to help with the festivals, music programs, tours of the schoolhouses, tours of the farm and special events. “It is a challenge, we’re still operating but we don’t have the membership we need and we really need to have many more members because right now we’ve got a lot of great things happening,” she said. “We try to get the public involved and the public loves it.” Declining membership, exacerbated by COVID, is a problem, she acknowledged. “Right now we need members badly. We need volunteers. It’s a great thing because we use the kids from the National Honor Society, the ROTC, the community service program from the area, to help us as volunteers for our events. We have Eagle Scouts who work on the farm or at the schoolhouses,” she said. “It’s a wonderful community project that benefits the community in so many different ways. We’ve had several Gold Awards for the Girl Scouts. We have had 27 Eagle Scouts that have worked on the farm or at one of the schoolhouses. So, 27 young men have gotten their Eagle award through us. It’s a pretty remarkable thing. “But membership is down because of COVID and the older people are leaving and younger people don’t have the time,” 10

she said. “It’s such a wonderful thing; it’s a fun thing. We don’t require a lot of your time, just require you to be there once every couple of months. It’s a fun job and it’s so rewarding. “We need members. We are really desperate to have people join us and help us,” she said. “Membership is really important to any society trying to raise funds. We now have five different historic sites … and every site needs more and more help every year because it gets older.” The five sites are: Oakley Farm Museum and West Freehold Schoolhouse, both on Wemrock Road, Georgia Road Schoolhouse at Georgia Road and Jackson Mills Road; the Wikoff Hill Burial Ground off Great Bridge Road, and Henderson Park, which is in the planning stages to be developed within the Freehold Marketplace center off Route 537. “There’s a hill there, it’s the homestead of Dr. Thomas Henderson, he was the town doctor and was a confidante of George Washington, and also was elected governor of the state,” Cook-Polverino said. “He was very prominent during the American Revolution. He and George Washington had several meetings before the Revolution because Henderson had lived on this site since the mid-1700s with his wife and children and he was a patriot. “The house burned down in the ‘80s but we still have the original foundation and we also have the barn, so we are turning the property into a passive park and it will just be a walking area, a contemplative area and the house will be outlined in the park so you will be able to see what it looked like and we’ll develop the barn, a visitors center and it will all have connections to the American Revolution,” Cook-Polverino said. “We’ve been working on it since 2003 and we’re getting to a point now where we’re going to start developing it in the next two years. We need a lot of money for it, it’s a very big undertaking. It’s going to be a beautiful area. The park is actually in the middle of this green space. We were so excited because Henderson Park, the green space, please see LEGACY, page 11 07728


continued from page 10

we actually had three archaeological digs there and they found over 3,500 artifacts there from the early 1700s to early 1800s.” Cook-Polverino delights in recounting the rich history that embellishes the legacy of Freehold Township, including decisive battles of the American Revolutionary War. “The British were stationed on the Oakley Farm during the American Revolution and the family that owned the farm were the Walkers. While the husband was off fighting the Battle of Monmouth with his son, the British were burning everything coming into Freehold,” she said. “They destroyed everything and they came to the farm and Mrs. Walker went out there and said, ‘You can camp on my farm, I will feed your men. Please don’t burn my house down.’ And they didn’t, the farmhouse and Mounts Tavern were the only things not destroyed and the Solomon Farm on the corner. “Those interested can research this historic milestone and more on the township website. Go to Heritage Society, almost all of our history is there. We established that early on. At the library, we went from the card catalogue to the computer and I knew how important computerization was going to be. So I said to the township, you’re going to need to give me a page on the website because we can’t just leave this stuff in here, it’s got to be out there on the Internet. “Oakley Farm also has its own website,” she added, “and we are in the process of doing QR codes so if we get shut down again, people will be able to go to the Oakley Farm website and scan the code and then be able to visit virtually. So that’s our newest and latest project.” Freehold Township Mayor Thomas Cook credited Cook-Polverino’s role “in preserving and bringing to life township history.” “I think one of her best and most important qualities is her passion to preserve the history of Freehold Township and the commitment of her time and energy to do the things she’s done. Cheryl has been our township historian since 2013,” he said. “It’s her overall commitment and the passion to do it. She raises funds, she works well with our township administrator and township committee and let’s us know, “we’ve got this project, we have to do this … “She has been instrumental in the Georgia Road Schoolhouse restoration, she helped create the Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County, which is over by Mounts Corner,” Mayor Cook added. “It’s a passion and this is hers … She’s done, and continues to do, good things, she recruits people for the historical society. She’s very proud of what she does.” “I love history, I really do, and this history is so important,” Cook-Polverino stressed. “Without the Battle of Monmouth we probably wouldn’t be our own country. That was

one of the most important battles that took place and nobody really knows that much about it. “It’s a funny story if you listen to the historians about what happened that day. It was 98 degrees, with 90 percent humidity, the British were dressed in their wool uniforms and they were on the south side of [Route] 522 in the apple orchards and they were moving up and the battle took place on the north side of 522, so on Monmouth Battlefield itself. “The British were working it, but the heat got to them and they were losing people left and right from heat exhaustion and the firing and they actually left in the middle of the night, they left the battle. “It’s pretty impressive. We were winning, no doubt about it, but the fact that they were losing so many men to heat exhaustion and to injury, they just figured, you know what, we’re going up to New York because this isn’t working. “And that’s what they did, they took off and crossed over into New York. It’s a real interesting story.” She also reprises the tale of local heroine Molly Pitcher. “At Oakley Farm, Molly Pitcher was on the north side of 522, right on the battlefield with her husband, he was a gunner firing the cannons. He was mortally wounded and she took over firing the cannon, so that’s where she was, what a great lady,” Cook-Polverino said.

“There were a lot of camp followers, but she was amazing. She actually retired from the Army as a sergeant. Her name was Sgt. Mary Hayes, she was known as Molly Pitcher because she was carrying water to the men and she was also carrying water because they had to wet down the gun every time they fired it because they got so hot it would have blown up. “She was an amazing woman. She carried 70 pounds of weight all the way from Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania, they walked. She had to carry the campfire pot to cook in because that’s what the camp followers did, they did the cooking for the men and took care of them. It’s an amazing story of the American Revolution.” Events sponsored by the Heritage Society include the Civil War Re-Enactment Weekend at Oakley Farm, Pickin’ at the Farm Old Time Music Jams at Oakley Farm on the second Tuesday of each month, and Artisan Car Show, and then Christmas at Camp in early December. Monthly meetings of the society are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. at the Oakley Farmhouse. ■


Cheryl Cook-Polverino, standing, far right, with guests Jerri Chadwick, left, Joan Keeney, center, and Doris Dadio, seated.

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FALL 2021

Bringing the

Joy of Theater back to Downtown Freehold



heater is back in Freehold Borough! After nearly 18 months of lights out and dealing with the COVID19 pandemic, Center Players, Freehold’s resident theater company, is back on stage with its fall production of “California Suite” running Oct. 22 through Nov. 7. This classic 1976 play focuses on four couples who arrive in turn from New York, Philadelphia, London and Chicago and separately inhabit a Beverly Hills hotel suite. Each packs their own problems, anxieties and comical marital dilemmas. Michael Tota of Jackson, who most recently directed “Lend Me a Tenor” at the Playhouse in 2019, returns to direct the production. “We chose ‘California Suite’ since it is a light play and something that will make audiences of all ages laugh and enjoy coming back to the theater again,” said Sheldon Fallon, Center Players president. Fallon has been president at Center Players for the past six years, assisting the theater with everything from project management and set preparation to building sets and cleaning up after performances … a true jack of all trades.

“I’m happy to say I also have a part in ‘California Suite’ playing the role of one of the hotel patrons,” Fallon noted. “We are thrilled to open up our little playhouse after a very long intermission, offering the joy live theater provides,” noted Center Players Artistic Director Bernice GarfieldSzita. “And we are confident that our audiences will warmly embrace this very entertaining play from one of America’s favorite playwrights.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, Center Players made it a mission to still bring theater to their patrons’ homes through Zoom performances. “We did one Zoom performance of ‘Meet the Oakleys’ based on the Oakley Farm right here in Freehold,” Fallon said. “Those who were interested would register and receive a Zoom link to a live play performance right in their living rooms or on their computer screens.” To ensure the safety of cast, crew and patrons, COVID protocols are in place. All patrons must wear a mask while inside the playhouse, and must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within two days of entering the theater. Center Players is also offering a flexible ticket policy, allowing patrons to exchange tickets in the please see THEATER, page 13



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event of illness. “Theater people are very committed and determined,” GarfieldSzita said. “We are hoping for a great turnout after being dark for a year-and-a-half and hoping a play with laughter will bring positivity back to the community.” Center Players, currently celebrating its 20th season at Center Playhouse at 35 South St., Freehold Borough, is a respected, award-winning organization having been nominated and the recipient of many awards from the New Jersey Association of Community Theater for acting, direction and set design. The group presents high quality, engaging productions featuring local talent in Downtown Freehold. Productions range in variety from musicals and mystery theater to educational shows for children. There are typically four to five full productions annually with a few one-night only performances scattered about. “We’re happy to be where we’re at today since our inception in 1996,” Garfield-Szita


said. “Before we got our spot on South Main Street in 2001, we were like birds without a nest and would use any open space available. We then rented out a storefront and this has been our home ever since.” When Center Players opened in 2001, the theater was just about to put on its first show when the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, happened. The Fall 2001 debut performance was delayed. “We were just about to open our doors to our first patrons when the attacks on the Twin Towers occurred,” Garfield-Szita said. “The theater had a meeting on what to do next and decided to move forward with a comical play to try and bring laughter as a form of medicine to people who were grieving and needed an escape.” Center Players is a 49-seat theater with a stage that is 14 feet deep by 19 feet wide. “It might be small but it became our home,” Garfield-Szita said. “We most certainly are ‘The Little Theater That Could.’ ” As Center Players looks into the future beyond their fall production of “California Suite,” Fallon said the theater is hopeful this will start the trend of bringing theater back.


“We do have a plan for the next 12 months,” Fallon said. “This involves some holiday and Christmas shows and perhaps a show around Valentine’s Day.” In addition to their signature plays, the theater also sponsors free play readings and other special events and offers dinner and theater packages with several local restaurants. “I’ve had patrons say they have seen a production we have done on a Broadway stage but ours was way better in its innovation and creativity,” Garfield-Szita said. “It doesn’t get much better than that!” Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are priced from $25-28 and are available online at www.centerplayers.org or by calling 732462-9093. ■


Center Players, Freehold’s resident community theater company, returns to the stage with “California Suite” this fall.

FALL 2021

Freehold has

Spooky Season Fun planned through multiple attractions



he fall season is approaching as leaves all around us turn from green to an orange crisp, inviting local residents to enjoy interesting fallbased attractions and events in Freehold Borough. From an old historical home that was once in a 1990s sitcom, to haunted hayrides and a burial ground, Freehold Borough offers everything to fulfill your seasonal desires. The Spellman Manor, or notably the Victorian house seen in the 1990s sitcom, “Sabrina The Teenage Witch,” pays homage to Freehold Borough. The house, which sits on the corner of 64 E. Main St. was once the outside exterior of the house of please see SPOOKY, page 15


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teenage witch Sabrina Spellman. The house is said to originally date back to the 1870s, according to the historic preservation office records of the house’s history, and is an italianate style home later receiving Queen Anne altercations. The house now serves as an office building but can still be the perfect place to reminisce on your once aspiring-witch nostalgia. The house is currently on the market for almost $2 million, or has options to rent. In addition to the historical house on Main Street, the Wikoff Burial Ground resides in Freehold Township and can be an interesting place to visit as Halloween approaches. The Wikoff Burial Ground, located on a bluff overlooking Route 79 (Broadway) holds graves of multiple local residents and families and even holds the history of a rooted family in Freehold. Some notable graves at the burial ground include Aeltie Wikoff who died in 1740, Anne Conover who died in 1857, Capt. Jacob Forman, and the grave of Capt. Peter Wikoff who was a guide to George Washington during the Battle of Monmouth. The Wikoff family reunion was held in the graveyard in 1904, where a paper on the history of the Wikoff family was read to all by the family’s historian and genealogist, James Steen. In present-day Freehold, there are still Wikoff relatives in the area, who are known historically as the first group of parishioners at Old Tennent Church in Manalapan dating back before the 1730s. In regards to if the Wikoff Burial Ground will fulfill your

spooky-related interests during the month of October, the burial ground might be of perfect interest to you. According to the Research Librarian and Archivist of Monmouth County Historical Association Dana Howell, there are several infants buried at the burial site that went unrecorded and can be seen as unmarked graves, leaving the interpretation of if the burial ground is haunted up to those who visit. Haunted hayrides are also coming back to Freehold Borough. The Freehold Spooktacular Committee and local community members are coming together for the long-time Halloween favorite Haunted Hayride event, after the COVID-19 pandemic put activities on pause last year. According to a volunteer on the Spooktacular Committee, Toni Field, the Haunted Hayride event is an old Freehold Borough tradition where members of the community come together to decorate, haunt and do live spooky scenes along the hayride route, and is just one of the free events hosted by the Freehold Spooktacular during October. Other events include window painting, a movie night, a scarecrow decorating contest, Monster Mash, and the Halloween parade. The Haunted Hayride event begins at Wells Fargo Bank and travels through Kiawah, Lincoln, Cottage, Hull, South, Brinkerhoff and Main streets. The hay wagons and tractors are driven by members of the local community, picking up residents at 72 W. Main St. in Freehold and travel through the route escorted by Freehold Borough police. During the route, haunters who walk along the hayride try to frighten the hay riders as they see decorated houses and scenes play out by other members of the community. Field also expressed her hopes for the Haunted Hayride tradition during this year’s Spooky-Season after the past year. “We are hoping that this event shows people that our community is resilient and that we know the importance of community and teamwork. We also hope people recognize that our strength in numbers is what it takes to make wonderful events like this possible,” Field said. “Coming together as a community during these times is exactly what we all need and we hope this event, along with all our others, makes people smile again.” The Freehold Spooktacular Committee is currently looking for houses on the Haunted Hayride route that provide live action scenes, Halloween house decorating, spooky street walkers and hosting your yard for a scene. The event will take place Oct. 17, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and those looking to earn community service hours will receive them for participating in the event. For more information about how to get involved in the upcoming Haunted Hayrides event and other events the committee hosts, contact Toni Field. ■

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FALL 2021

Do you prefer fall or Halloween decorations? PHOTOS BY JAMIE GIAMBRONE

PHOTO 1: (L-r) Renee Vainchel and Maureen Certaro. Renee Vainchel says “fall decorations because she loves fall and the weather.” Maureen Certaro says “Fall decorations because I love my mums!” PHOTO 2: Dini Cabansag of Lu’Bella Boutique prefers Halloween. “It’s my birthday month. From childhood it has been a fun scary holiday. I also like the farms and pumpkin carving.”



PHOTO 3: (L-r) Vanessa Miceli and her daughter Makenna Miceli, 10 years old. Vanessa prefers “fall decorations for the spirit of the changing seasons.” Makenna says “Halloween decorations because I like the holiday!” PHOTO 4: Elly Wardle prefers Fall decorations because “I like the festive flowers, mums and the tree colors.”





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Freehold It’s all in the details.

When it comes to your social calendar, change is … not always good. But sometimes it’s inevitable. For updates pertaining to weather and other cancellations, visit downtownfreehold.com after 3 p.m. on the day of the event. Farmers Market

The DowntownFreehold.com Farmers Market brings Jersey Fresh vendors to the center of town every Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of the Hall of Records, 1 East Main St. Buy sun-ripened, freshly picked fruits and vegetables directly from the farmers who grow them. Held through October.

Blood Drive

New Jersey Blood Services will hold a blood drive open to the public from 12:30-6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Freehold Raceway Mall, Freehold Township. To donate blood or for information on how to organize a blood drive, call 1-800-9332566. For more information, visit www.nybloodcenter.org

National Rx Take Back Day

The Freehold Borough Police Department will mark the DEA’s National Rx Take Back from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 23 with the acceptance of unwanted, unused and expired medications at headquarters, 36 Jackson St., Freehold.

A Howl-o-Ween Family Fest

A Howl-o-Ween Family Fest dog-friendly festival will be celebrated at Marty’s Place, 118 Route 526, Upper Freehold Township, from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 23 (rain date, Oct. 24). There will be canine costume contests, a leisurely walk, hay rides, a pet photo booth, K-9 police dog demonstrations, live music, food trucks, games, and activities for children, adults and canines. Adults, children and dogs are welcome to dress in costume and participate in a variety of contests. Admission is $5 for adults; children under 6 are free. All proceeds will benefit senior dogs cared for by Marty’s Place. For more information, visit www.martysplace.org or call 609-259-1278. 07728

Monster Mash Family Night

The Monster Mash Family Night will be held from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 23 in front of the Hall of Records. Admission is free.


The Freehold Township Parks and Recreation Commission will hold Trunk-or-Treat from 3:30-6 p.m. Oct. 27 at Michael J. Tighe Park, 65 Georgia Road, Freehold Township. The Spooktacular event will include safe candy trick-or-treating from the trunks of vehicles. Participants will meet at the volleyball pavilion where they will receive a loot bag and tickets for each decorated vehicle. Open to Freehold Township residents ages 2-14.

Halloween Parade

A Halloween parade and costume contest will be held on Oct. 31 in the Freehold Raceway parking lot on Manalapan Avenue. Judging ends at noon. The parade starts at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

Menorah Lighting

Join Freehold Borough for a menorah lighting from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 29.

Lunch with Santa

Enjoy Saturday Lunch with Santa from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 4 or 11, at Panini Grill, 31 E. Main St. Reservations required by calling 732-845-5440.

Brunch with Santa

Enjoy Sunday Brunch with Santa from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 5, 12 and 19, at the American Hotel, 18 E. Main St. Enjoy brunch specialties and grab a photo with Santa. Call the American Hotel for more details. Reservations are required by calling 732431-3220. 18

Christmas Tree Lighting

Join Freehold Borough for a Christmas tree lighting from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 7 in front of the Hall of Records, 1 E. Main St. Rain date is Dec. 8. The Rock and Roll Choir will perform. Court Jester will provide hot cider. The Freehold Fire Department may stop by with a special guest.

Jolly Trolley

Downtown Freehold welcomes back the Jolly Trolley. Time slots are 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10. Saturday, Dec. 11 times are 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. The snow date is Sunday, Dec. 12, at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Visit the shop page to purchase tickets. No refunds unless the event is cancelled.

Jolly Trolley 21+

The Jolly Trolley will be available for adults 21 and older. Timeslots are 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. Snow date is Sunday, Dec. 12. Visit the shop page to purchase tickets. No refunds unless the event is cancelled.

Breakfast with Santa

Enjoy Breakfast with Santa from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at Sweet Lew’s Café, 6 E. Main St.


Listen to carolers sing through the downtown from 7-9 p.m. Dec. 16.

Send us your calendar listings!

Please include all critical information: who, what, where, when, and how to register or get tickets (if applicable), as well as a few lines of description. Email your listings to jamato@newspapermediagroup.com FALL 2021

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NO MATTER YOUR QUESTION Reach a personal and local Freehold Bank Representative

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