Charter Day Historic Street Fair & Festival

Rain or Shine

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Shows, Rides, Games, Food, Entertainment, Street Acts

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, and post pictures of your Charter Day activities on our Instagram page.

Visitors to the downtown Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township can reach over 10,000 as the Charter Day festivities commence, with the Town Crier conducting the opening ceremonies on the green at noon.

Bernards Township includes Basking Ridge, Lyons, Liberty Corner, and West Millington. The annual event, coordinated by the Bernards Township Recreation Department, promises to be a fun and festive day with food, games, and rides for the kids. Local vendors, art displays, service groups and reminders of history all join together at this annual street fair. The celebration started back on May 20, 1995, and has run most every year since. The original Charter of Bernardston was signed May 24, 1760.

Why We Celebrate Charter Day

Charter Day commemorates the Saturday, May 24, 1760 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 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 – 15 W. Oak St – just off the town green.

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

The original Charter Day was Saturday, May 24, 1760

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

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 Township, and the entire Somerset Hills area.