New and traditional events highlight the Fall season

With the turn of the season approaching and activities changing from swimming and barbecuing to pumpkin carving and apple picking, Mt. Laurel residents won’t have to travel far for some fall fun.

Living History Family Fun Day

On Oct. 5, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Jacobs Chapel Colemantown Foundation, the organization leading the way to preserve, repair and restore the historic site, will hold a “Living History Family Fun Day.” The purpose of this event is to raise funds and awareness and educate the community about the local treasure.

“Fourth-grade students from Mt. Laurel travel to Jacobs Chapel every year, and I can remember my kids talking about the tours there and how memorable they were,” Julie Williamson, chair of the event, said. “There was a historic gem literally right down the street that I knew nothing about.”

The community houses Jacob’s Chapel, Jacob’s Chapel Colemantown Meeting House and Jacob’s Chapel Cemetery and was once a stop on the Underground Railroad.

“This event is a great way for the community to learn more about the history of the site, but also have a lot of fun. There will be activities for the whole family,” Williamson said.

The buildings and grounds will be open to the public with tours led by an Underground Railroad conductor, featuring “If These Stones Could Talk” re-enactors Dr. James Still and Civil War soldier Corp. Robinson. Visitors will also witness a staged Civil War encampment with the 6th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops from Trenton.

Buses will run every 30 minutes between the Jacob’s Chapel properties and nearby Fellowship Community Church. Since parking and space is limited on-site, free parking and several of the family fun activities will be held at Fellowship Community Church, 1520 Hainesport-Mt. Laurel Road.

Guided tours at Jacob’s Chapel will be provided for free. There is a nominal fee for food and family activities including pony rides, carnival games and face painting held at Fellowship Community Church. Visitors will also enjoy a performance by the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble.

To help raise funds and awareness and educate the community about the Colemantown Meetinghouse site, several sponsorship levels are still available. Visit www.colemantownfoundation.org to learn more or call (856) 813–7819.

Mt. Laurel’s annual Fall Festival

The usual crowd of dog walkers, nature lovers and playground enthusiasts will be joined by a crowd of thousands in Laurel Acres Park on Saturday, Sept. 21, for the township’s annual Fall Festival and 5K Run.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the park will be home to hordes of food sellers, crafters and other vendors, as well as community groups and local businesses. Entertainment includes live music, children’s amusements, pony rides, face painting and demonstrations that showcase a variety of skills.

Admission is free but wristbands for rides will be sold for $10. The long-standing event attracts visitors from many neighboring towns and is paid for through donations and corporate sponsorships, officials said.

With the community’s assistance, the festival returned in 2012 to the township’s calendar of events after a one-year hiatus. Fees for vendors were put into place and donations increased.

On the morning of the festival, the township will also host the annual 5K Run, which begins at 8:30, rain or shine.

The course will take runners through the park on asphalt, grass and dirt surfaces, including the wooded nature trail. Only the first 100 registrants are guaranteed t-shirts. All others will be subject to availability.

Trophies will be awarded to the top male and female finishers. Medals will be given to the top three males and top three females in each of the nine age categories.

Participants may register at Laurel Acres beginning at 7:30 a.m. on the pavilion. The cost is $25 on Saturday and $20 in advance by Friday.

In addition to the competitive events, a children’s 200-yard fun run for those age 6 and younger will begin at 8:15 a.m. There is a prize for every child in the 6 and under fun run.