May 9 at Monmouth Battlefield State Park
TRENTON, NJ - The Garden State's contributions to the nation and world will be highlighted when the 11th 'Spirit of the Jerseys' takes place on Saturday, May 9 at Monmouth Battlefield State Park in Manalapan Township, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
The Spirit of the Jerseys State History Fair was first held in 2004 to celebrate the centennial of New Jersey's state-owned historic sites - a system that began in 1903 with the state's purchase of the Indian King Tavern in Haddonfield. The goal of the fair is to help the public learn about New Jersey's significant history in a fun and enjoyable way.
For example, one of the most pivotal battles of the American Revolution took place in the fields and forests that now make up Monmouth Battlefield State Park. Today, the park preserves a stunning rural 18th-century landscape of hilly farmland and hedgerows that encompasses miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, picnic areas, a restored Revolutionary War farmhouse and a new Visitor Center.
"As residents of New Jersey, we share a tremendous sense of pride in knowing our state has played a significant role in helping to define the American experience," said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. "From the American Revolution to the Industrial Revolution to generating innovation that continues to improve lives and change the world around us, New Jersey's unique historical legacy is truly unparalleled. With a new location at Monmouth Battlefield State Park, this year's State History Fair will surely prove to be both exciting and educational."
With New Jersey's rich history as its backdrop, the State History Fair will have plenty to offer for anyone curious about the Garden State.
"The State History Fair will give visitors an opportunity to experience five centuries of New Jersey history," Commissioner Martin said. "It is an example of the Christie Administration's support of our state history ' from the annual History Fair to the continued support for all of our state historic sites, which allow residents to better understand who we are, where we came from, and the role that our ancestors played in making New Jersey such a great state."
More than 180 new historical, governmental and nonprofit entities and organizations have registered to participate in this year's event. All 21 New Jersey counties will be represented at the fair, in addition to exhibitors from Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York.
At the History Fair, visitors can step back in time and participate in a military drill, plow a furrow, play historical games, watch baseball games played with period uniforms, equipment and rules, tour the New Jersey Hall of Fame mobile museum, check out vintage automobiles, and gain insights into New Jersey's more than 350-year history.
Historical characters at the fair will include Benjamin Franklin, Clara Barton, Walt Whitman, Molly Pitcher, Admiral David Farragut, Loyalist Governor William Franklin, General Ulysses S. Grant, Governor Charles Olden and General George Washington. Musical performances also are planned by Jonni Drue, singing Frank Sinatra standards and Charlie Zahm, performing Civil War-era music. The New Jersey National Guard, 63rd Army Band also is scheduled to perform.
Activities at the State History Fair can help fulfill badge requirements for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies and Junior Girl Scouts. In addition, the Office of Historic Sites offers three professional development hours to elementary and secondary school social studies teachers who attend the fair and participate in its historical activities.
Vendors will have a variety of food available that will showcase New Jersey's diversity, from hotdogs and Italian ice to falafel, crab cakes and tamales.
The Spirit of the Jerseys will be held rain or shine from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and a $10 per vehicle parking donation will be requested to help defray fair costs. For more information on the State History Fair, including a full listing of events, food menus and directions, visit: www.njhistoryfair.org.