July 4, 1918
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In the summer of 1918, there was heavy fighting in France, over 600,000 American soldiers had shipped out for Europe in the last three months, and the Ridgewood Independence Day Association planned the Victory Bazaar to celebrate American Independence and our friendship with the French, and to raise money for the war effort.
For one day, July 4, 1918, the people of Ridgewood had an unprecedented festival to rally support and raise money for the Ridgewood Chapter, American Red Cross.
On a day that dawned with clear warm weather people from all around came by train, trolley, and automobile. The area to the west of the railroad tracks was turned into the Victory Bazaar. Along the Station Plaza from Godwin Avenue to the Station were the following booths, including a playground with pony rides, several "Hit the Kaiser" booths, fortune-tellers, and the Knights of Columbus booth with chances for a Chevrolet automobile.
The fair organizers had erected a Bridge of the Allies over the Station boulevard (now Garber Square), connecting “Over Here” with “Over There”. Fairgoers paid a toll at the bridge—10 cents for adults and 5 cents for children. Well over 5,000 crossed the bridge that day into the French Village of Chateau Thierry. Booths here included the Casino de Monte Carlo, Coq d'Or patisserie, outdoor theater, and lemonade.
New Jersey Governor Edge arrived at noon and was received by Ridgewood’s Battalion of the State Militia Reserve. After a review on the Plaza the Governor and guests had lunch in the Red Cross Tea Room. Ridgewood resident, R. H. Burnside, manager of the New York Hippodrome, and his actors and performers staged two performances at the Play House and provided entertainers to stroll the grounds.
Hundreds of people and tens of organizations provided the volunteer effort to plan, create, and carry out the tasks of the Bazaar. Helping with the admissions alone were 100 men of Fidelity Lodge F. & A. M., as well as members of Knights of Columbus, Sons of the American Revolution, West Side Men’s Club, Girl Scouts, and the Girls’ Patriotic League. The proceeds of more than $8,000 was handed over to the Ridgewood Chapter, American Red Cross. This is about $114,000 in today's money.
These original photographs are in the collection of the Bolger Heritage Center.