A bucolic corner of New Jersey will celebrates its unique heritage on Saturday, October 18, when the Chesterfield Township Historical Society holds it Heritage Day and Plein Air Festival.
Visitors to the town of Crosswicks, one of three still-rural villages in the township, will be transported to earlier centuries as they tour an exhibit of antique farm equipment, participate in traditional crafts, view and purchase artwork painted during the day by 25 plein air artists, and sample delicacies that were once locally made. Lectures by three area experts on the history of the Quakers in New Jersey, the Gettysburg Address and Burlington County during the Civil War will be given in the afternoon.
The celebration begins at 10 a.m. The museum on Ward Avenue, where a recently-acquired majestic, 38-star American flag purchased by local residents in 1884 was unveiled last year, will be open from 10 a.m. – 3: p.m.
The inaugural Plein Air Festival will unfold during the day beginning at 9:00 a.m. when the artists spread around the historic village and choose the perfect historic setting for their juried work. The artwork must be painted all in one day, and turned in to be judged at 4:00 p.m. A reception featuring an exhibition and sale of the plein air artwork, as well as a number of other paintings of Crosswicks completed during the last two months, will cap off the day from 6-8 at a reception open to the public.
Children can get in on the fun with Colonial games on the village green, and they can investigate the antique farm equipment, including a steam traction engine and a cranberry sorter. Traditional crafts to be demonstrated at the Historical Society Headquarters during the day include spinning, quilting, pen-writing, basket-making, blacksmithing, pottery-making, smocking and lace-making. Some of the artworks will be for sale.
And then there is the food. The aromas of open-hearth cooking are sure to stimulate the senses, along with some traditional food served by the local Chesterfield Inn. The day’s menu will include Crosswicks Community Association Chicken Salad, Brick’s Mincemeat, from a recipe that was developed in 1874 by Edgar Brick and manufactured in Crosswicks until the 1970s, and Taylor Pork Roll sandwiches, a product developed by a descendant of an original Chesterfield Township settler.
With its rural character still intact thanks to decades of efforts by historians and Township officials who preserved much of the local farmland through the township-wide Transfer of Development Rights program, Chesterfield Township is considered one of the gems of the state. For more information about the Township’s Heritage Day celebration and Plein Air Festival, visit www.chesterfieldtwphistoricalsoc.org.
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