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Charter Day Celebrating the 1760 Charter of Bernards TwpCHARTER DAY
Rain or Shine

Shows, Rides, Games, Food, Entertainment, Street Acts, Charter Day Idol and more!

Celebrating the 257th Anniversary of the Charter of Bernardston

Saturday, May 20, 2017 - Rain or Shine

The 22nd Annual Charter Day Festival
will kick off in 2017-05-20 10:00:00 GMT-05:00!


Bookmark Charter Day


Celebrate the rich history of Bernards Township with The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH). Make your own history with us by bringing your camera - or smartphone & post pictures of your booth, your kids, your festive table or any other Charter Day activities on our community facebook page! We're also on Twitter and Instagram. Post and hashtag  #BTcharterday.  Make your own history!

Basking Ridge Charter Day Street Festival

Here Yea...Here YeaIt's Time for a Festival that Celebrates Our History!

Expect visitors to the downtown Basking Ridge section of Bernards Twp celebration to reach over 10,000 as the festivities commence with the Town Crier conducting the opening ceremonies on the downtown green at 11am.

Bernards Twp includes Basking Ridge, Lyons, Liberty Corner, and West Millington. The annual event, coordinated by the Bernards Twp Recreation Department is an annual event that promises to be a fun and festive day with food, games, rides for the kids, local vendors, art displays, service groups and reminders of history all joined together at this annual street fair and festival right in the heart of the Bernards Twp section of downtown Basking Ridge. The celebration started back on May 20, 1995 and has run every year since.

New for the 2017 Charter Day Celebration:

"Sign the Charter"!

Be part of history by signing the Charter of Bernardston

Everyone gets the opportunity to feel like they're part of the process and add their signature to the oversized Bernardston Charter. Don't miss this great new fun activity.

"Get a Photo" as King George II or Governor Sir Francis Bernard

Get your photo taken as either King George or Sir Francis Bernard

Be part of the fun and make history as you get to take your picture as one of the two most important Charter Day dignitaries! Two new life size reproduction images of King George and Sir Francis Bernard will be available for you to put your face in their body for a photo opportunity.

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Be Part of the Instagram Trend!
add #BTCharterday to your post.

Meet Local Artist Linda Arnold
Get an Autographed Copy of her new Coloring Book

Somerset Hills History Coloring Book Buy 1 Donate 1

Artist and Illustrator Linda ArnoldLocal artist and Liberty Corner resident Linda Arnold will be signing copies of her new coloring book "Somerset Hills History" from 1-4pm at the Brick Academy (just off the Basking Ridge green). The coloring book was recently released on Amazon. For every book that is sold, one book will be donated to local education programs.

The Somerset Hills History Coloring Book highlights the history of Somerset Hills, New Jersey. The area is in the northern section of Somerset County including Bedminster, Bernards Township, Bernardsville, Far Hills, and Peapack Gladstone. The book contains 34  images including the areas famous people, places, and events in the Somerset Hills local history. General George Washington, General Charles Lee, Widow White, King George II, Governor Sir Francis Bernard and Betsy Ross are just a few of the historic figures that will be ready to color in the book.

Historic sites include the Brick Academy schoolhouse, the Vanderveer House (home to General Knox), the Boudinout-Ross House, the Kennedy-Martin-Stelle Farmstead and many other local historic sites. Story images also include America’s first military academy, the lost Pluckemin Cantonment, the ghost of Phyllis Parker, and the infamous capture of General Charles Lee at Widow White’s Tavern in Basking Ridge.

"Tree Views" Essay Contest Winners to Recite Their Essays

Tree Views Essay Contest

Why We Celebrate Charter Day?

Charter Day commemorates the anniversary of the granting of a township Charter by King George II of England, establishing Bernardston Township. This act was as a courtesy and in appreciation for the services of Sir Francis Bernard, Royal Governor of New Jersey. From January 27, 1758 to July 4, 1760 Sir Francis Bernard, son of a British Reverend was appointed for two years as Royal Governor of New Jersey.

The Bernardston Charter by Brooks Betz

The Brick Academy, home to the Historical Society of the Somerset Hills will be open to celebrate the history of our Somerset Hills area. We hope you'll stop by for a visit. We are just off the town green.

Start Charter Day at the Brick Academy


COME SEE: Brick Academy Exhibit 11am-5pm

Come see the exhibit at the Brick Academy: What Put Somerset Hills (including Bernardston) on the Map!

The scope of the museum exhibit includes:

  • Primary exhibit: What put each town on the map including major Historical References, Developments, Events,Buildings, Business, Structures, People, and Interests
  • Secondary exhibit: Beautiful Country Estates, Notable Residents and Political Figures

The original Charter Day was May 24, 1760


Click Here to get your own copy of the Bernards Charter from 1760 Sir Francis Bernard, The Royal Governor of New Jersey

Above: Governor Francis Bernard, Governor of New Jersey (1758-1760) sits next to a replica of the official Charter of Bernardston. Click on each image to learn more.

Limited Availability:

Inside America Limited Edition Bernards 250 editionA classic Bernards Township local collectible, "Around and About - Basking Ridge, Liberty Corner, and Lyons, a 148 page limited release available from the Historical Society of the Somerset Hills at the Brick Academy.

The book is available for direct purchase for $20.00

A limited number of copies are still available - Click Here for details


Sand ArtCharter DayMusical entertainment will include musical groups performing on two stages and will include a local "Charter Day Idol" event at the Henry Street stage.

The nearby Oak Street school field will be the place for kid rides, attractions, moon bounces, slides, and other various rides for kids young and old.

The day promises to be one filled with crafts, games, rides, music, art, food, vendors, historical displays, local school and organizations' participation.

What better way to celebrate the Township's history than by living it? Happy birthday, Bernards Township!

Start today and learn more about the wonderful history of Bernards Twp, and the entire Somerset Hills area. Visit and begin your journey!

The Downtown Area


Charter Day

Parking and shuttle bus available at the Municipal Complex on Collyer Lane and Ridge High School.

For additional questions about the Bernards Twp Charter Day Festival,
please click here or contact:

Bernards Twp Parks & Recreation Dept.
1 Collyer Lane, Bernards Twp 07920
Tel: 908-204-3003




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