BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ This Saturday marks the 25th annual Charter Day celebration in downtown Basking Ridge, an event that each year draws thousands of township residents, as well as visitors from other towns, to a street festival that mixes live music, history lessons, amusement rides, displays by local businesses, civic and student organizations _ and plenty to eat and drink.

This year's Charter Day, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and continue through about 9 p.m. at the intersections of S. Finley Ave., Oak Street and Henry Street, will recognize the 259th anniversary of the founding of the Township of Bernardston by British King George II even before the American Revolution.

Charter Day, as well as being a meeting place for friends and neighbors, will feature a street fair, entertainment, art and history displays, food and amusements. 

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The event is coordinated by the Bernards Township Department of Parks & Recreation, which estimated that Charter Day brings about 10,000 visitors to downtown Basking Ridge.

Sunny weather predicted, Charter Day Idol to return

Sunny weather, with temperatures in the 70s, is predicted for this Saturday, May 18, following a previous washout of 2018's Charter Day celebration due to last year's heavy rain. Charter Day is by tradition scheduled for the third Saturday of every May.

The street fair begins at 11a.m. and features local businesses, non-profit organizations, school groups, service organizations, and crafters. Bands featuring local student musicians will again be featured at the Charter Day Idol competition.

"We are proud to be a community focused event with the majority of our street fair vendors being Bernards Township based businesses and organizations," according to a release from the township recreation department. "We have quite a variety of vendors with many new groups participating this year. There will be plenty to eat all day long with food vendors open from 11am until 8:30pm near the main stage including many of your favorite fair foods:  hot dogs, hamburgers, cheese steaks, sausage sandwiches, fried ravioli, funnel cakes, bbq, ice cream, lemonade and more!  You will also find a few other food vendors located throughout the street fair and on the Oak Street School field along with the amusements."

View the event map and schedules at or stop by the Charter Day booth at the intersection of Henry Street and Finely Ave to pick one up at the event. 

The Parks & Recreation booth will feature information on membership to the Coakley-Russo Memorial Golf Course and Pleasant Valley Pool and information on the township's planned summer recreation programs and special events. 

Other municipal committees and departments will also again participate in Charter Day:  the Bernards Township Library, Police Department, Health Department, Municipal Alliance, Agricultural Advisory Committee, Environmental Commission, Shade Tree Commission and the Vision 2020 Task Force. 

"Be sure to support your volunteer fire and first aid squads!" the township release said. The Basking Ridge and Liberty Corner Fire Companies and First Aid squads will have vehicles on display. The Basking Ridge Fire Company and Emergency Medical Services will also be selling cotton candy during the street fair, as in previous years.

Official opening at noon 

Entertainment on the main stage will begin with the official Opening Ceremonies at noon. Located at the intersection of Finley Ave and Oak Street, the Main Stage features performances and demonstrations by students and local groups all day. Returning this year are performances by performances by Tree House, the Pettet Sisters, YMCA Dance, Gotta Dance, the Albrook School and Chris Aguayo Inner Sounds. 

New groups this year will Inari’s Messengers, the Basking Ridge Indian Community, Take Flight Dance and the Alan Grant Band.  

The evening concert this year will feature Little Nikki’s Radio from 6 to 9 p.m. on the main stage.  Little Nikki's Radio is a high energy cover band known for their diverse range of music and electrifying live performances. The New Jersey based five piece features dynamic male and female vocals perfectly complimented by a fantastic rhythm section second.  Their unique mix of songs, from genres such as rock, pop, country, hip-hop and dance from the 70's to today, is sure to keep Charter Day celebrants dancing in the street until the end of the festival.

Charter Day Idol to feature local student bands and performers

Charter Day Idol returns for its fourth year, featuring musical talent composed of middle school and high school students on the Henry Street Stage at Oak Street School. The competition will include five bands and performers. Cash prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place.

Charter Day Idol is supported by the Bernards Township Municipal Alliance, and begins at 1 p.m. with awards will be presented following all performances at approximately 4 p.m.

Westminster Hall, at the Presbyterian Church of Basking Ridge, will once again feature a Student Art Show and Photography Competition exhibit. The hall will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for viewing the art on display from local students.  The Parks & Recreation Departments 9th annual Photography Competition entries will be on display as well as a historical retrospective of the past 24 Charter Day celebrations.  

The Brick Academy, located just off the town green, will be open from 11a.m. to 5 p.m. Stop by to see the Historical Society exhibits including the mock schoolhouse on the top floor. Gifts and keepsakes will be available for sale.  

Rides and amusements due to be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Rides, inflatable amusements and carnival games will entertain children of all ages on the Oak Street School field from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Strolling entertainers can be found all throughout the event.  

Parking is available at Ridge High School located at 268 South Finley Ave and the Bernards Township Municipal Building located at 1 Collyer Lane. A free shuttle bus will make frequent stops throughout the day to bring passengers downtown to the fair.