Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 23
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
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A Necessary Hiatus? Fete Organizers Gear Up for '07, But Will 'Rest' in '08

Matthew Hersh

Change is one thing, but is Princeton ready to go Fete-less? Even for one year?

That remains to be seen, but as organizers gear up for Saturday's June Fete, the largest annual fund-raiser for the Auxiliary of the University Medical Center at Princeton, change is swirling, even before the first waft of funnel cakes hits the air. Fete organizers announced last week that 2008 would witness a break for the popular day fair, as Princeton HealthCare System, the Medical Center's parent entity, ramps up plans to move to a 158-acre site in Plainsboro.

So as the 54th Fete, "Affair of the Heart," gets underway at Princeton Stadium this weekend, organizers will now look to 2009 for the Fete's new venue, and a new chapter in UMCP history.

"We have a great opportunity to relocate and redefine the Fete at the new site," said Pat Newman, president of the UMCP Auxiliary, in a statement pointing out that it would require "careful and creative planning" to retrofit the Fete with its second change in venue in less than five years. As such, the board of the Auxiliary has voted to "rest" the Fete in 2008 to "explore the opportunity to redefine it at the new hospital location. The Auxiliary will reach out to community members to join us as we develop plans for a redefined Fete — maintaining treasured traditions and creating new and exciting ones."

That said, there is likely to be a fund-raising event of a smaller scale next year, but not of the magnitude of the Fete, which, in 2004, underwent a successful relocation from the soccer fields in West Windsor to the Princeton Stadium.

This year's Fete is raising monies for UMCP's Maternal Child Health program.

The concourse at Princeton University's football stadium, which is a decidedly less soggy affair than the old playing fields were when the weather did not cooperate, will have extended hours this year — from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The pre-Fete rite of passage, the annual 10K Grand Prix Race and one-mile Fun Run will kick off at 8 a.m., transforming the Riverside area of Princeton Township into an on-street foot race. Runner registration, held at Princeton University's Weaver Track & Field Stadium, adjacent to Jadwin Gym, begins at 6:30 a.m. and closes at 7:45 a.m. Runners who have registered for the race before this coming Saturday will still need to go to the registration window to pick up their bib numbers, chip, and T-shirt.

Fete co-chairs Elva Martin of Plainsboro and Cheri Vogel of Lawrenceville announced in March that the popular mid-1990s rock group, the Gin Blossoms, will appear in a free concert at 2 p.m. Saturday at the football stadium. The band is currently touring in support of its fourth album, Major Lodge Victory. Opening for the Gin Blossoms will be the blues band Big House Pete and rock singer-songwriter Allison Cipris.

New to the Fete this year will be the "Kids Kingdom" that houses inflatable rides, face-painting stations, sand and candy art, kite flying, a petting zoo, spin art, a stage with fencing, a dance, and a fruit-pie-eating contest open to children age 5 and over, which will take place from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. at the Kids Kingdom stage.

Of course, there's the flea market, the pony rides, the food concourse, beer garden, car raffle, playhouse raffle, and the 50/50 raffle. The annual live auction will be previewed from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., with the actual event immediately following.

Those who want to get an early start can sidle up to Il Ballo Del Pranzo, the annual Fete dinner dance, scheduled for this Friday, June 8, at the Trenton Country Club from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Dinner and dancing will be accompanied by the Jump City Jazz Orchestra. For an invitation to the dance, call (609) 497-4069. For more information, visit

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