Train rides throughout the park Credits: Jennifer Murphy
Inflatables provided endless fun for the kids Credits: Jennifer Murphy
Helping to build a 250th Anniversary logo out of legos Credits: Jennifer Murphy
Girls Scouts sold deep fried cookies Credits: Jennifer Murphy
Hardyston residents, the Gage family enjoyed the day Credits: Jennifer Murphy
Climbing wall a favorite for school age kids Credits: Jennifer Murphy
Phil 'n the Void provided music throughout the day Credits: Jennifer Murphy
Tricia Furman Leve, her mother, Pat Furman, and her two children in Civil War dress, part of the Living History Alliance, trace many generations back in Hardyston Credits: Jennifer Murphy
Warming up for the basketball tournament, sponsored by the Sussex County YMCA, Hardyston Credits: Jennifer Murphy
Hardyston Celebrates 250th Anniversary
Monday, October 1, 2012 • 12:17am
HARDYSTON, NJ – Residents of Hardyston marked the township’s 250th anniversary with a full day celebration on Saturday. Pleased with the turnout, Town Manager Marianne Smith remarked that, “it is the most well attended Hardyston Day we’ve ever had.”
“The whole day is about community, and getting people out to enjoy each other, and our beautiful park,” said Smith. “What I’m especially happy about is to see all the kids playing and enjoying themselves.”
“We have the police, the EMT, our teachers, everyone is here,” she continued.“It’s a great turnout.”
The day began with a ceremony of introductions and a performance by the Hardyston Elementary School Chorus. A parade around the walking path included a float made from the school truck, created by Hardyston’s teachers, based on the school mascot, the hornet. The truck had bee’s wings, and sported signs such as “Bee kind,” and “Bee respectful,” and carried kids in the back.
Also in the parade were the Boy Scouts, Swim Team, Township Council, representatives of the 1st Aid and Fire Departments, and ten former “Miss Hardystons.”
A Governor Josiah Hardy look-alike, for whom the town is named, was on hand in full Revolutionary-era garb to greet his “constituents.”
Tricia Furman Leve and her family attended in Civil War dress. She and her husband Larry are the co-founders of the Living History Alliance, a group of living historians. At their tent, one could see a cross-section of time from each period in Hardyston’s history: Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, and World War II, with beautiful period pieces and photographs. Leve’s grandfather, John Beatty, was born in the Stockholm section of Hardyston, in 1926.
Beatty explained that, “on an 1860 map of Hardyston, my father, his father, and my grandfather’s brother and uncle all had property listed on the map.”
He recalled the days of living in Stockholm before there was electricity.
Township Councilman Bob Ross shared his views on the town, and said, “It’s the best town in the county and the state to live in, I’ve lived here all my life and the people are the best.”
He continued, “I worked for the schools for the last twenty four years, until I retired last June. I was the supervisor of the building and grounds. I worked at both the Middle and the Elementary schools.”
Ross recalled that, “the middle school opened on November 11, 2003. The elementary school opened in 1958, I was in third grade.”
Both Beatty and Ross attended the Stockholm School, a two-room schoolhouse that later became the Municipal Building.
Ross recalls, “I was in the last class to be there.”
“Now, do you want to know about the 200th anniversary of Hardyston Township?” asked Ross. “It was held at Simmon’s Farm, over where Indian Fields is right now. I was a boy scout, I was 12-years-old.”
Throughout the rest of the park, businesses, artists and community services set up tables, under tents. Girl Scouts sold “Deep Fried Girl Scout cookies,” Boy Scouts sold funnel cake.
“If they are Hardyston businesses, they get to come for free,” explained Township Manager Marianne Smith. “We felt that was a way we could help promote our businesses. If you are from outside of town, there is a small fee to be a vendor.”
All day long, children jubilantly climbed, and spilled down several inflatable slides.The younger kids entered the inflatable jumping houses. The school kids tried climbing up the 30-foot climbing wall. Teens were welcome to join a basketball game at the school court, sponsored by the Sussex County YMCA. "Phil ‘n the Void," a rock band, added to the atmosphere with their music. Steak sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs were readily available, as well as ice cream and other treats.
As evening drew on, vendors packed up their tables, and residents prepared for a grand finale of fireworks to end the day.
This was the third event to commemorate the anniversary.
On February 26, 2012, the actual anniversary date of the signing of the township charter, there was a more formal ceremony with dignitaries, and a school chorus performance. About two hundred people were in attendance.
In June, they held the first ever Hardyston 5K run, where they adopted the “Guardians of the Ribbon,” an organization that raises money to bring hope, support, love and rescue to local women facing cancer. The Guardians brought their pink fire truck, which is signed by survivors, and families who have lost loved ones.