Arts & Entertainment

Charter Day Fills Downtown Basking Ridge on Township's 256th Birthday

Dan Lincoln and Paula Axt of The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills hand out copies of the 1760 British "charter" that created the Township of Bernardston in 1760. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
"Decisions, decisions." The Bernards Township public library had a booth at Charter Day where kids like Jaxson Carbone of Basking Ridge could win prizes. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Henri Barre, official town crier, calls the crowd to the main stage before proclaiming that the 24th annual Charter Day celebration is officially open. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
The Ridge Marching Band hosted a booth and drumming contest at Charter Day. On hand, juniors Nikhil Akenapalli, Kyle Feigenwinter, and Sydney Woolmar. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Children in town might wish that the rides and attractions in the field behind Oak Street School on Charter Day were around for longer. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Bernards Township Mayor Carol Bianchi opens the 24th annual Charter Day celebration by thanking those who worked hard to make the event possible. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
The smell of food along South Finley Avenue at Charter Day on Saturday was surely enough to attract some people for that reason alone. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
There were plenty of pooches (on leashes) at Charter Day, including "Bear" with Jamie Casale, owner of The Dog Whisperer in Basking Ridge. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Teddy Leon, 8, and his mother, Emily Leon, check out the sights at Charter Day on Saturday in downtown Basking Ridge. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
The rolling ride at Charter Day attracted some of the older kids who still wanted to have fun. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Nicholas Riggi, Ridge High '14 grad, greets the crowd at Charter Day as a sparkling tooth and toothbrush representing Dental Care Basking Ridge. With mom Karen Riggi Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Raising funds by selling flags and more were Ridge ski team members Addie Schmitt, a junior, Clare Mohan, a sophomore, and Collin Bell and Brian Hilferty, both juniors. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
The Ridge High School Habitat for Humanity booth was staffed by 9th grade twins Hannah and Sophie Thier, senior Matt Hober, and Catherine D'Angelo, also a freshman. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Ridge freshman Nolan Haddad was among the football players who helped raise teams funds by having a mini-football thrown at him. Mark O'Brien and Nick Giachhi were others. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
As he has in the past, U.S. Congressman Leonard Lance addressed the public at the opening ceremony for Charter Day at noon on Sat., May 21. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Among the booths at Charter Day was the local chapter of the Citizens' Climate Lobby, which intends to bring its concerns to US Congressman Leonard Lance. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Brian Meagher of Basking Ridge stops by to see a large copy of the 1760 charter creating the Township of Bernardston as displayed by Paula Axt of the historical society. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
A copy of the charter from British King George II that established the Township of Bernardston in 1760 was handed out at Charter Day. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Credits: Wally Pardo
Credits: Wally Pardo
Credits: Wally Pardo
Credits: Wally Pardo

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.

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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.

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