BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ For what may be the first time in the 24 years it has been celebrated, Charter Day has been canceled on Saturday due to steady rain. There are no plans to reschedule the popular event to celebrate the 258th founding of Bernards Township.

"It is the first time it has ever been completely canceled and it will not be rescheduled," Jennifer Gander, director of the Bernards Township Parks and Recreation Department, said early on Saturday afternoon. The event had been scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

"The amusement vendor canceled because it was not safe to run the rides and we couldn't set up any of the stages/sound for entertainment," Gander said in an email. Vendor attendance would have also been low as many were canceling in advance, she added.

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Both Gander and Bernards Township Mayor John Carpenter added that while they were disappointed, they doubted many residents would have enjoyed the event in heavy rain.

A bright spot: bricks laid for Historical Society honorees at 10 a.m.

On the bright side, the day actually began at 10 a.m. with The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills'  inaugural laying of three monogrammed bricks to the new historic Walk of Honor, celebrating the winners of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Awards back in January 2018. The society is based at the Brick Academy at 15 W. Oak Street, where the brief ceremony took place.

Basking Ridge resident and former historian June Kennedy’s brick was added to the walk along with the bricks honoring the other two winners, Mary Conkling Ellis and Mildred “Millie” Van Dyke. 

Charter Day has for more than 20 years been the place to see and be seen for local residents, organizations, businesses and food vendors. The rides behind the Oak Street School are always popular.

May be discussion of setting rain date for future years

Carpenter added that he had been talking with Township Committeewoman Carol Bianchi earlier in the day, and she had suggested raising the topic of setting up a rain date for future years. 

While it has rained at Charter Day in previous years, there generally had been breaks in the rain. The event has been shortened due to precipitation in other years.

Charter Day is planned for a full year in advance. There had been a full schedule of activities, exhibits, food and festivities planned.