“Eakfest” is back for the seventh year and better than ever, organizers say!
“It’s definitely blowing away all the other years, no doubt,” said Alicia Eak,whose once-backyard Halloween party has evolved into a township tradition. “It’s going to be awesome!”
Eakfest was first organized back in 2007, months after Alicia’s daughter Jackie, then 12, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. With so much going on and so many worries to think about, the Eak family wasn’t sure if hosting the annual Halloween party was a good idea, but Jackie said it was one of the highlights of her year – so there was no saying no.
The Halloween party, which attracted more than 100 people, had already grown out of the family’s backyard, which spurred an idea: expand the party even more and use it as a fundraiser to support cystic fibrosis research. Over the next seven years, Eakfest has grown by leaps and bounds, now rivaling – if not surpassing – some of the largest haunted hayrides and Halloween events in New Jersey.
This year’s event will likely be the biggest ever. The haunted trail has been expanded, a kiddy carnival and less-scary hay ride for kids and families has returned, and this year three Jersey Shore bands – Sekond Skyn, Commonwealth and The Red Desert – will be playing throughout the event.
“The trail changes up every year,” Eak explained. “A lot of the other haunted trails, they do the same thing every year. At ours, because it’s all volunteers doing their own thing, there’s always something new. They managed to take the same haunted trail and make it longer and bigger somehow.”
The most important part of the event, of course, is the fight against Cystic Fibrosis. The good news: Jackie is now 19, in college in New York City, and doing well health-wise, as the Eak family continues to raise funds in the quest for a cure, to which researchers are coming ever-so-close.
“Last year we raised $15,000,” said Eak. The previous two years raised over $10,000 each.
Eakfest is held at the Pioneer Hose Fire Company, 312 Drum Point Road, Brick, from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday.
Friday night’s event will come complete with snacks, including hot chocolate, and on Saturday, more food will be available from Mike’s Pizza.
“He comes in and makes pizza, sandwiches and all that good stuff,” said Eak.
There will also be food cooked up on the grille from Pioneer Hose’s volunteer firefighters and funnel cakes from the Lion’s Club.
The haunted trail costs $5 for kids 17 and under, and $10 for adults. An all-age “jump to the front” Eakfest pass is $20. The “non-scary” hay rides cost $5.