Full moon night market in N.J. is a place to embrace the ‘witchy and weird’

Being normal is VASTLY overrated.

© Michael Mancuso/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com Thursday, June 24, 2021 – Lunar Faire, a North Jersey pop-up night market that celebrates the moon (full and new phases) held its first two iterations at Crystal Lake Beach in Oakland in the month of June.

So read the inscription one of the decorative signs for sale at a vendor’s booth at Lunar Faire, a “witchy and weird North Jersey night market” held on the new and full moons.

Tiffany Casey, who grew up in Lincoln Park, had a desire to attend a night market but found there weren’t many options.

“I was trying to build a following by reading tarot cards and being a writer,” said Casey.

Her mom worked as an event planner so Casey pitched the idea to her to start one locally, but that wasn’t working so she took the idea to three childhood friends, Kelly Dagion, Robyn Lusto and Debbie Vohra.

© Michael Mancuso/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com Thursday, June 24, 2021 – Lunar Fairy Anna Oh, with The Fun Collective, performs at the Lunar Faire.

“I got my best friends from third grade, fifth grade” she says, “And we said, ‘Let’s do it!’”

The first two Lunar Faires were held in June at Crystal Lake Beach, a private swim club in Oakland.

Expecting to secure “about 10 vendors,” the inaugural event featured 40 vendors, from the expected to the eccentric, and offered such unusual attractions as Wizardry Workshops, Spellmaking, a Potions Lab and Fire Dancing.

Two weeks later, when the second version came around on the date of the full Strawberry Moon, Lunar Faire had grown to include approximately 60 vendors.

“My friend (Lorraine Henrich) has a coven,” says Casey. Henrich, known as the Lunar Goddess from the Lilith Circle of Lights, led a gathering of about 50 women and children (men were politely asked not to break the circle) in a ceremony on the sands thanking and invoking the natural forces.

© Michael Mancuso/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com Thursday, June 24, 2021 – An item on display by a vendor proclaims that “Being Normal is Vastly Overrated.”

In July the roaming event moved to a bigger venue at the Pompton Lakes Elks Lodge, first for the new moon and next for the coming full moon on Friday, July 23. Tickets for that event have already sold out.

“Three months ago this (Lunar Faire) wasn’t a thing and now we had to cap tickets,” Casey exclaimed. “The waiting list for Friday is more than 1 ½ times the number of tickets sold.”

This has led to questions about ticketing from folks eager to attend and rather than management taking a generic corporate-speak stance, a post on their Instagram candidly explains the situation in human terms.

“We’re definitely trying to be as authentic as we can in every sense of the word, Casey says. “We’re as anti-capitalist as a business can be. We’re really trying to put intention, empathy, compassion, humanity before anything else. Because there are very few places you can find that you know?

© Michael Mancuso/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com The circle was comprised of women and children.

“I get a little emotional when I read the comments (on social media),” Casey explains, “Because of seeing people over and over again say things like ‘My kid is embracing their weirdness here,’ (The event is fully a family affair) and ‘I’ve been wanting a way to find my people for so long,’ and ‘I’m in love with this place.’

© Michael Mancuso/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com Thursday, June 24, 2021 – Lorraine Henrich, the Lunar Goddess from the Lileth Circle of Lights performs a welcoming ceremony to nature.

“If I get really overwhelmed by things I can just read that and know that we’ve done something good for people and it really helped us want to keep doing it. It’s truly a passion project from our hearts.”

© Michael Mancuso/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com Thursday, June 24, 2021 – Stephanie Penna, aka Mermaid Kita, is a vendor at Lunar Faire.

With the increasing popularity of Lunar Faire, the founders are open to bringing their movable North Jersey feast further into other parts of the state. “We are looking at all options for expansion, hopefully with parking. Parking is our headache right now.”

Handling the growing challenges of an expanding event can certainly be daunting for the group of childhood friends. “In the beginning,” Casey said, “We were thinking it was just going to be a string of lights in a parking lot and 10 vendors. Now that we’re basically having to run a Bonnaroo every two weeks,” she said bursting into laughter, “It’s really a lot!

© Michael Mancuso/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com Each vendor provides their own electricity as needed, adding to their uniqueness.

Even so, Casey is unvexed. ”Hey listen, there’s a magical answer for everything. This is how we do things.”

© Michael Mancuso/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com Thursday, June 24, 2021 – A flowing dance using an LED lit scarf and fan is performed at dusk on the shore by Keith.

Citing the Lunar Faire mantra, she adds, ‘Embrace the chaos!’”

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Michael Mancuso may be reached at mmancuso@njadvancemedia.com

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