Mayor’s Message: Harrison Township Day

Mayor Louis Manzo discusses what people can expect to see at Harrison Township Day.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, all kings and queens, knights and ladies, nobles and serfs and all the subjects of the village known as Mullica Hill.

You are hereby summoned to participate in this celebration of the 175th Anniversary of your hometown realm. A very special Harrison Township Day is set for May 4 (rain date, May 5), and we are including our neighbors in Elk and South Harrison townships since they were part of Old Harrison Township at its inception. There are some exciting changes to our annual celebration this year, starting with the location. We are moving the entire event onto Main Street, which will be shut down from noon until 10 p.m. to create a more festival-like atmosphere.

A very special pre-thanks to Sharon Chew and our Recreation Commission, as they stage this event every year and do an unbelievable job. And to our police and public works departments for all their work in the preparation and execution of an event of this magnitude.

This is a true community occasion, with more than 30 local businesses lending their support. I make special mention here of Inspira Health as our parade sponsor and Stags Leap Ranch as the fireworks extravaganza sponsor. We thank them all for their support and continued contribution to our community.

Informally, we begin the day at noon by christening the new Naples with a ceremonial “first drink in Mullica Hill” in 100 years! They will sell beer and wine only on their premises that day, though they will not fully open their libation dispensing operation until a bit later in May.

The official activity commences by bringing the parade back down Main Street, but bigger and better than ever. The procession will begin at Woodland Ave at 1 p.m., heading south to Old Town Hall. The revelers will include large police, fire and military vehicles, antique cars, bands, mummers, local groups and custom floats. The three performing stops along the route will be at Naples Ristorante, OKKA Karate and Old Town Hall. This spectacle will last two hours and culminate in a welcome ceremony on the main stage at Old Town Hall at 3:15 p.m. Elected officials from Harrison, Elk and South Harrison will be joined on stage by county and state dignitaries, the Harrison Historical Society and Recreation Commission members. We will acknowledge our history and kick the day off, while taking time to recognize lifelong resident and community contributor, Vincent Gangemi Sr.

The welcome ceremony wraps by 4 p.m. and the fun continues. A map will be available detailing specific locations; and there’s a lot! Our farming history takes center stage near the Yellow Garage with a large equipment display and farm stands, an antique car showcase will line Woodstown Road behind Old Town Hall and crafters will take up residence on the Friends Meeting grounds. There will be food vendors throughout, with major sites in the Blueplate and the OKKA Karate and Parsonage parking lots, where another stage with entertainment resides. Mechanical amusements and blow-ups will be in the fields off Church Street and behind the Baptist Church.

Another great event for a great community. I look forward to seeing you on the street on our big day.