BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ Each May, the township's Charter Day celebration brings together friends and community groups that spill over onto the streets and fields throughout downtown Basking Ridge, in an event that draws thousands of people to eat, ride on rides, greet their neighbors, and socialize.

Township calls off Charter Day 2020

All such things are prohibited in the springtime of 2020, when social distancing has become the norm in a race to slow the spread of COVID-19. And so, it should come as no surprise that Charter Day 2020 has been called off.

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This year's Charter Day had been scheduled for Saturday, May 16.

Mayor Jim Baldassare Jr. said on Thursday that the announcement had gone out that day that the 2020 Bernards Township Charter Day celebration had been officially canceled for this year, "given the now uncertainty of where we will be come May."

The mayor acknowledged that calling off the event "is a disappointment to us all."

"The amount of time and work that goes into getting this event together is extensive and something the current circumstances do not allow for at this moment," the mayor said in an announcement on the Bernards Township website. "We will look forward to making next year's event even more special."

Canceled due to heavy rain in 2018

Charter Day has only been totally canceled once before, due to extremely heavy rains in 2018.

Once each year's event is held, a yearlong Charter Day committee begins meeting soon afterwards, to plan such aspects of the day as live music, setting up displays by vendors and local community groups in the downtown, and setting up exhibits to showcase local art and highlight Bernards Township's long history.

Charter Day was set up to note the anniversary of King George II's signing of a charter to create the Township of Bernardston in 1760. It is traditionally held the third Saturday in May each year.