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Northampton Township celebrating 300th Anniversary with multiple events

by Karen Sangillo

Northampton Township is turning 300 this year. And the anniversary party will be huge.

On December 14th, 1772, a petition was granted by the Quarter Sessions Court at Bristol to establish a new township on the lands lying ‘between Southampton Township and other lands and the Neshaminy Creek,’ and Northampton Township was born, named for the country town of Northamptonshire, England. 

Programs and events that focus on the township’s history and provide opportunity for residents of all ages to learn about the past and embrace the community spirit while having fun. 

“The 300th committee is thrilled to see the many activities, programs and events come together,” said Nancy Opalka, the director of Parks and Recreation. “During our planning, we have all learned so much about the history of Northampton Township.  We are excited to be able to pass on the information we learned and compiled and even more excited to see our residents participate in the events planned to commemorate the 300th anniversary.”

September weekends will offer free family fun with Open House programs at the Senior Center, Parks & Recreation, library, police, Langhorne Rod and Gun Club and the Churchville Nature Center. 

The Friday Fun Fest will be on September 23rd at the Civic Center Basin from 5:00-10:00pm. There will be live music, games, vendors, food trucks and local craft breweries. 

In October, join the Northampton Fire Co. for Fire Prevention Week. On Saturday, October 15th, the Municipal Park will host Fire Prevention Day and Bucket Brigade from 10:00am to noon. Learn about the beginnings of Northampton’s first fire companies. Fire trucks, old and new, will be on display along with an old-fashioned Bucket Brigade. 

On Friday, October 14th, Northampton Valley Country Club will be the site of A History Mystery Gala, an interactive presentation by the Murder Mystery Co. Displays of Northampton Township’s rich history will be available as well as a commemorative gift.

Colonial dining will include appetizers, starter, dinner and dessert with a signature cocktail, courtesy of the Outlaw Doan Distillery. The event will be from 6:00-10:00pm and tickets are $85 per person, available online at northamptonrec.com or by calling 215-357-6800.

The final celebration will be on the anniversary date of December 14th, and will take place at the Township Supervisor’s meeting. A reenactment of the original document signing will take place, along with proclamations marking this historic date. The evening will be aired live on the YouTube and the township cable channel, ending this special year for Northampton. 

Some events are ongoing. Interesting facts about the township are being shared weekly on Facebook and on the 300th anniversary page found on the township website, northamptontownship.com. Highlights include Tuesday Trivia, Fun Fact Friday and Sunday Stories. These tidbits of information will be used in Trivia Nights as well as confirm that Northampton’s past is rich in history. Trivia Nights will be November 16th at the Northampton Valley Country Club and November 9th at the Library, both starting at 7:00pm.

Facebook posts have also provided residents and descendants of residents the opportunity to share personal stories of growing up in Northampton. Longtime community members are being solicited to create a living history video. Anyone willing to share memories or have a story about growing up in Northampton is invited to participate and may e-mail northampton300@nhtwp.org

The video will be shown on the township’s cable and YouTube channels as well as at township facilities and featured events. A free GPS app is available to find out information on buildings in the township. The GPS, which can be viewed on a computer or phone, pinpoints significant addresses and provides background information on the role the buildings played in the township’s past. 

Some events have already taken place. The Flag Day Ceremony honored not only the flag of the United States, but also commemorated the Nike Missile Base with the re-location of the Historical Marker at the Civic Center. Concerts were held at the Municipal Park with ‘300’ themes each week. 

A summer reading program at the library encouraged all to reach a goal of reading 300 minutes a week through July, The James E. Kinney Senior Center received a visit from Ulysses D. Grant who spoke about Robert E. Lee’s surrender in 1865, and also held presentations on women soldiers and spies, colonial weaving and wool spinning.  

For more information on any activities or to learn more about Northampton’s history and upcoming events, follow Northampton Township’s 300th Anniversary on Facebook or visit the Township’s website at www.Northamptontownship.com.  

Volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are also available. 

PHOTO CAP: Mike Jesberger, a historic re-enactor, is one of many attractions planned for the Northampton Twp. 300th Anniversary Celebration.

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