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50th Annual ECCR Country Fair Serves Up Dutch Treats For Charity

Charissa Scarpa, of Midland Park, serving ollie bollen at the 50th Annual ECCR Country Fair, one of the few places to find the Dutch treat.
Charissa Scarpa, of Midland Park, serving ollie bollen at the 50th Annual ECCR Country Fair, one of the few places to find the Dutch treat. Photo Credit: Rebecca Abma
Scarecrow building is always a popular booth at the fair.
Scarecrow building is always a popular booth at the fair. Photo Credit: Rebecca Abma
Games and rides were available for families at the annual fundraiser.
Games and rides were available for families at the annual fundraiser. Photo Credit: Rebecca Abma
Eastern Christian Children's Retreat of Wyckoff
Eastern Christian Children's Retreat of Wyckoff Photo Credit: Rebecca Abma
Vendor booths provided shopping opportunities for all ages.
Vendor booths provided shopping opportunities for all ages. Photo Credit: Rebecca Abma

WYCKOFF, N.J. — The air was crisp and the ollie bollen hot on Saturday for the 50th Annual Country Fair to support the Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat.

Founded in 1965 to provide a home-like care setting for children with mental and physical disabilities, the organization now provides a lifetime continuum of care for roughly 120 clients at facilities in Wyckoff, Midland Park, North Haledon and Prospect Park.

It's latest project is building group homes for adult clients within residential communities. One 5-bedroom home in Wyckoff was opened last year, construction is under way on homes in Waldwick and Allendale, and a Hawthorne project in the planning stages.

“The communities have been very welcoming,” ECCR Executive Director Jayne Press told Daily Voice.

The 2015 capital campaign has pledged to raise $1 million this year, and, prior to the Fundraising Fair, was almost three-quarters of the way to its goal.

The annual fair, an autumn staple in the Wyckoff area for half a century, was the first fundraising event for ECCR.

Founded by nurses Theresa “Tret” Bushman and Ann (Minnema) Morgan, who saw a need for care services for children with developmental disabilities, ECCR began vigorous fundraising campaigns in 1965 for the retreat facility that opened in 1972.

As the children grew into adulthood, the organization expanded services to provide lifetime care for its clients.

Drawing on the Dutch community in Wyckoff and the surrounding area, the culinary highlight of the fair is ollie bollen.

“It’s Dutch for oil balls,” Midland Park Councilman and ECCR Volunteer Mark Braunius explained of the deep fried balls of dough filled with apples and raisins topped with powdered sugar.

Pronounced OH-Lee BO-Len, the Braunius family has been serving the traditional Dutch treat to country fair goers for more than 25 years, continuing the tradition from another family who made them in the fair’s early years.

“People tell me this is the only time of the year they have them,” he said, estimating they served at least 2,000 ollie bollens on Saturday. “They aren’t served anywhere else anymore.”

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