BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Charter Day 2016 drew residents and nearby friends to celebrate the founding of Bernards Township in 1760, and to enjoy a mixture of food, live music, information from area businesses, student groups and civic organizations, rides, and more.
The opening ceremony was at noon on Saturday, with "Town Crier" Henri Barre as usual calling the crowd to witness the start of the 24th annual Charter Day celebration. Here is a video of Barre leading the opening ceremony procession along South Finley Avenue.
Rick Morley, rector at nearby St. Mark's Episcopal Church, slipped in a little prayer for the rain to hold off - a prayer that was at least partially answered despite predictions of showers for most of the day.
The event was scheduled to continue in downtown Basking Ridge until 10 p.m. on Saturday night. However, rain finally arrived Saturday evening.
Mayor Carol Bianchi and the township's director of the Parks & Recreation department, Jennifer Gander, thanked the many staff members and volunteers who make Charter Day possible. A Charter Day Committee begins meeting almost as soon as the previous year's celebration is over to plan for the following year.
Civic organizations and local food vendors, mixed with local businesses, were represented in booths set up along South Finley Ave. and Henry Street.
New this year was Charter Day Idol, which featured more solo and duet performances along with other bands, Gander said. As with the Battle of the Bands, the friendly musical competition features area student musicians.
Artwork was also on display at Westminter Hall at the Presbyterian Church of Basking Ridge. Each Charter Day, The Brick Academy, a former schoolhouse that is now headquarters for The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills, is open to the public with a recreation of some of the scenes from Bernards Township's lengthy past.