BERNARDS TWP., NJ – Charter Day, one of the biggest events celebrated every year in downtown Basking Ridge, is almost here. The festival celebrates the awarding of the Charter of Bernardston on May 24, 1760, from King George II– that’s 258 years ago.
The festival honors the history of Bernards Township, which includes Basking Ridge, Lyons, Liberty Corner and West Millington, with an all day celebration which organizers predict could birng up to 10,000 people to town to enjoy a street fair, rides, games, food, entertainment and will end with a live concert that will have everyone dancing in the street.
The first event of the day is actually at 10 a.m. at the Brick Academy, 15 West Oak St., the headquarters of the Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH). There, members will lay the first three monagrammed bricks on the new historic Walk of Honor. The bricks honor the society’s first three people to be inducted to the Walk of Honor – June O. Kennedy, Mildred Dunham Van Dyke, and Mary Conkling Ellis – each of whom received a Life Time Achievement Award. Family members of the honorees will also attend the brick laying.
The Town Crier opens the festival and street fair on the downtown green at 11 a.m. The fair runs until 5 p.m. and will feature local businesses, community groups, service organizations, food vendors and more. There will be amusement rides, games and attractions for children of all ages at Oak Street School.
Entertainment begins at 11:30 a.m. on the Main Stage with the opening ceremonies and special performances and demonstrations.
Watch the Charter Day Idol competition on the Henry Street Stage from 12:30 to 5:15 p.m.
Need a break? Stroll through the student art and photography shows at Westminster Hall in The Presbyterian Church, at 1 E. Oak St.
As might be expected, THSSH will be celebrating all day long. At the THSSH Charter Day Booth, sign an oversized Bernardston Charter; purchase Historic Somerset Hills Village Cat’s Meow Keepsakes; be photographed as King George II or Governor Sir Francis Bernard and more. The exhibits at the Brick Academy will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Take a tour of the exhibits and remember everyone who lives and works in the township is contributing to its history. Add your own contribution by posting photos from the festival on to a personal Facebook page or the THSSH, Twitter or Instagram accounts or the THSSH Facebook page with a tag: #BTCharterday.
At 6 p.m. Hoi Polloi performs at the evening concert on the Main Stage. Don’t be surprised to see everyone dancing in the street – it’s a Charter Day tradition. The concert ends at 9 p.m.
The event is coordinated by the Department of Parks & Recreation.
Park at the Municipal Complex on Collyer Lane and Ridge High School and take a shuttle bus to the festival.