Arts & Entertainment

Sunny Charter Day Attracts Crowd to Downtown Basking Ridge

A singing performance by children at The Treehouse Child Caring Center in Basking Ridge opened entertainment on Saturday, May 17, at the 20th annual Charter Day celebration for Bernards Township. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Bernards Township Town Crier Hank Barre leads the procession through downtown Basking Ridge for the opening ceremony for the 20th annual Charter Day at noon on Saturday, May 17. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Members of the Ridge Fencing team sell ice cream and "R"-shaped cookies as one of the Ridge High School team raising money in a booth at Charter Day on May 17. From left, Pulak Raj, sophomore; Arsalan Husain, junior; Andrew Ingber, sophomore; Jacob Klein, junior; and Paul Molander, sophomore. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
The rides and amusements behind the Oak Street School at each year's Charter Day are a draw for children from Basking Ridge and nearby. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
The Ridge girls lacrosse team had a fundraising booth at Charter Day in downtown Basking Ridge _ but the team had yet to add the latest news to its sign that girls lacrosse won a Somerset County championship in 2014 as well as the last two years. From left, Beatrice Behrins, freshman; Julia Byrnes, freshman; and Tamara Torales, junior. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Mount Prospect School third grader Shruti Ram points to her artwork in the student art show on display at the 20th annual Charter Day celebration held Saturday, May 17, in downtown Basking Ridge. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Brick Academy in Basking Ridge was once a school house. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Bernards Township Mayor John Carpenter welcomes the crowd to the 20th annual Charter Day celebration in Basking Ridge, and reminds all to look to the 600-year-old oak tree that has been "silent witness" to so much history. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Roxy and his owner, Kathy Sinatra of Basking Ridge, were attracting their own fans at the 20th annual Charter Day celebration on May 17 in the center of Basking Ridge Village. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Bernards Township Mayor John Carpenter called the historic white oak in downtown Basking Ridge a "silent witness" to centuries of history. The last 254 years of that local history was celebrated at the township's 20th annual Charter Day on Saturday, May 17. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Equipment and booths with volunteers from both the Basking Ridge and Liberty Corner fire companies and first aid squads were part of Charter Day 2014. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
The VFW Post 7858 of Bernardsville and Bedminster had a booth at Charter Day in Basking Ridge, a reminder of history both near home and further afield. From left, Bernie Ehn, Bernardsville; Bob Walsh, Bernardsville; and Bob Marino, Basking Ridge. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Basking Ridge seventh grader Stephanie Davidson and her sister, Pamela, grade 3, at Charter Day with information on their organization that collects and sells books at the community center. The money raised goes for books, schools and scholarships for students in Africa and Asia, they said. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
The Washington House in Basking Ridge center opened the week before Charter Day. The new restaurant, located in the historic building that most recently housed The Ridge Tavern, was open on Charter Day and drew lookers and diners. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos

BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ - The crowd at this Saturday's 20th annual Charter Day celebration in Basking Ridge arrived early this year — and were likely to stay late, with food and some attractions scheduled to last to 10 p.m. and beyond.

Bernards Township "Town Crier" Hank Barre led the procession to the main stage at noon for the opening ceremony for this year's Charter Day, which celebrates the 254th anniversary of King George II signing a charter that created the Township of Bernardston in 1760.

Over the course of the day, about 10,000 people were expected to drop by Charter Day, Sean O'Grady, assistant director of the Bernards Township Parks and Recreation Department, said beforehand.

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During the opening ceremony, Bernards Township Mayor John Carpenter pointed to the "silent witness" to all of the Charter Days, and the local history that led to the celebration — the white oak tree at the Presbyterian Church believed to be 600 years old.

By that count, an oak acrorn sprouted in the ground in 1440, he said. "Colonial troops rested under what was already an old tree by then," Carpenter noted.

He asked the gathered crowd to glance at the tree while enjoying the day's activities, which included an array of foods, music and booths set up by more than 120 vendors, civic groups and service organizations, as well as the fire companies and first aid squads, township police and school sports programs.

Carol Bianchi, the Township Committee's liasion to the Charter Day Committee, said she hadn't realized all of the work that went into making the event happen, and thanked all of the volunteers and officials who planned and pulled the day together.

The history of the township was to be further on display at The Brick Academy off the green until 5 p.m.

Several of the food providers, serving funnel cakes, corn, cheesesteaks, samples of local restaurant fare and more, were to continue serving into the evening, O'Grady said.

Rides and inflatable amusements and carnival games attracted children to the field behind Oak Street School. Student art and photo displays were at Westminster Hall at the Presbyterian Church.

Awards for the Battle of the Bands of local student musicians were due to be awarded at 6 p.m.

A new band for Charter Day, Funktion 11, was set to hit the main stage in front of The Presbyterian Church of Basking Ridge at 7 p.m. and remain until possibly 11 p.m., with dancing in the street.



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