BERNARDS TWP., NJ - The 22nd annual Bernards Township Charter Day celebration is back this Saturday, May 21, starting with a street fair at 11 a.m. and lasting until 10 p.m. that night with food, music and dancing in the street in downtown Basking Ridge, 

The Bernards Township Department of Parks & Recreation traditionally coordinates the community event the third weekend of each May. The day celebrates the founding of the Township of Bernardston by British King George II in 1760 with a lineup of vendors representing local businesses, along with student and community groups, rides and games, history and art displays and live entertainment.

2016 is township's 256th anniversary

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Each year, Charter Day draws about 10,000 visitors to downtown Basking Ridge. The green in the center of Basking Ridge Village, in the center of South Finley Avenue at the intersection with Oak Street, will be closed to traffic, along with parts of some neighboring streets.

The Parks & Recreation released more information this week on what is scheduled to come up at this Saturday's Charter Day, along with information on shuttle parking and the new Charter Day Idol display of musical talent by local student musicians. Ten performances are scheduled for Charter Day Idol, starting at 12:30 p.m.

The street fair begins at 11 a.m. and features local businesses, non-profit organizations, school groups, service organizations, and crafters, according to the township.

 "We are proud to be a community focused event with nearly 85 percent of our street fair vendors being Bernards Township based businesses and organizations," said a news released from the recreation department. 

There will be plenty to eat all day long with food vendors, including many local eateries, scheduled to be open from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. near the main stage, "including many of your favorite fair foods: hot dogs, hamburgers, cheese steaks, sausage sandwiches, funnel cakes, pulled pork, ice cream and more!"

Again this year, a beer garden will also be available,provided by Delicious Heights. "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." 

The event map and schedules also can be viewed on the township website or by picking up a copy at the Charter Day booth at the intersection of Henry Street and South Finely Avenue at the event, along with Parks & Recreation summer program and event information. 

The Bernards Township Library, police department and Bernards Township Municipal Alliance Against Substance Abuse will also have information to share as well as the Agricultural Advisory Committee, Environmental Commission and Shade Tree Commission. "And be sure to support your volunteer fire and first aid squads!" The Basking Ridge and Liberty Corner Fire Companies and First Aid squads will have vehicles on display. 

Cotton candy to support Basking Ridge Fire Co. and First Aid Squad

The Basking Ridge Fire Company and First Aid Squad again will be selling cotton candy during the street fair and glow novelties during the evening concert.  

Entertainment begins at noon with Opening Ceremonies on the Main Stage by the Presbyterian Church of Basking Ridge, and continues all day and into the evening.  Located at the intersection of South Finley Ave and Oak Street, the Main Stage features performances and demonstrations by students and local groups. Returning this year are performances by the Pettet Sisters, professional performers from Broadway, movies, and television, and singer-songwriter Gordon Thomas Ward. 

The township will also welcome back performers from the Somerset County YMCA, Gotta Dance, The Tree House Child Caring Center, the Whitehouse Wind Symphony and more.

The evening's main concert at 7 p.m. features the return of an old favorite, Hoi Polloi.  Since 1991, Jersey's Own Hoi Polloi (psst...it's pronounced "HOY-puh-LOY") has performed in hundreds of venues in the New York area, and even as far away as Boston, Dallas, and Key West, along with Bernards Township! "They are sure to keep you dancing in the street until 10 p.m."

New 'Charter Day Idol'

The Battle of the Bands has been re-imagined as this year's new Charter Day Idol show and competition. Taking place on the Henry Street Stage at Oak Street School, Idol will feature musical talent composed of middle school and high school students. The competition will include five bands, a duet and four solo acts. Cash prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place.  With event support by the Bernards Township Municipal Alliance and Wavelength Audio Video, Idol begins at 12:30 p.m., with awards to be presented following all performances.

Westminster Hall, at the Presbyterian Church of Basking Ridge, will once again feature our Student Art Show and Photography Competition exhibit. The hall will be open from 11a.m. to 5 p.m. for the public to view the art on display from local students. The Parks & Recreation Departments 6th annual Photography Competition entries will also be on display.  

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

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 and shuttle bus service available

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