Jersey Shore Town Meeting kicks off amid rain

Local attendees of the 2018 Jersey Shore Town Meeting brave the rain and grab some pizza during opening day of the event. PAT CROSSLEY/Sun-Gazette

JERSEY SHORE — The 2018 Jersey Shore Town Meeting celebration officially kicked off Monday night with ribbon-cutting ceremonies at Celebration Field. A thunderstorm and downpour put a damper on some of the festivities as people waited for the skies to clear. Vendors held on to their displays as the wind whipped through the area threatening to upend their tents.

Although it was delayed due to the storm, a carnival runs throughout the week.

The festivities end Saturday with both ground and aerial fireworks at 9:45 p.m.

Highlights of the week include the annual Fourth of July Tiadaghton Elm Ceremony at 10 a.m. Wednesday, celebrating the nation’s independence and the history of Jersey Shore. The ceremony will be followed by the Hometown Hero program.

On Thursday, the Grand Parade begins at 6:15 p.m., followed by the crowning of Baby Sweetheart and the 50th Queen Tiadaghton.

The Jersey Shore Town Meeting was incorporated in 1965 to preserve and continue the rich history and traditions of the borough. According to Kathy Hensler, town meeting treasurer, funds raised from the town meeting are used to finance the fireworks plus Christmas lights and the Santa hut during the holiday season. Although it is a community effort, the town meeting is separate from the borough, Hensler added.

For many older residents of the borough, the town meeting brings back memories of their childhood.

“I remember coming here with my father when I was a little girl,” Hensler said.

“People would say ‘I’m goin’ to the grounds’ or ‘the doings,’ “ she added.

It first began when three ladies got together and organized a picnic, Hensler said. Then boat and hay wagon rides as well as rides on local fire engines were added to the picnic, which had moved to Richmond Park in the borough.

A keen draw for the event, Hensler believes, is that there is no charge to get in or to park.

The only time the town meeting has not been held was following the Agnes flood in 1972.

A tradition of the week-long event is the town crier. Every year a student from Jersey Shore High School is chosen based on their service to the community. This year Evan Fink was picked for the honor.

Evan, who will be a junior at the high school, was the town crier last year and, according to Hensler, would like to continue doing it through his high school years.

The entertainment schedule for the week includes Cadillac Cats tonight from 6 to 10 p.m., Country Express from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Pound Fitness Exhibition, following the parade and crowning, Thursday, the Chris Ruble Band from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Top Shelf from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday.