JERSEY SHORE - Attendees will be able to celebrate both the birth of our nation and the birth of independence for the area during the 52nd annual Jersey Shore Town Meeting Monday through Saturday.
The popular event usually attracts between 7,500 to 9,000 people, according to Mayor Dennis Buttorff. He explained that the annual event is a great opportunity for old friends to reconnect.
"Those who have grown up here and moved away will often come back for the Town Meeting - there's a feeling of being able to reconnect with old friends," he said.
"But we believe there's something here for everyone - even those who have never come to the meeting before are encouraged to stop by and share this community event with the people of Jersey Shore," he added.
Councilman Sean Simcox explained that the event which began the Town Hall meeting was an interesting coincidence in history.
"When this area was first settled there was some dispute about the area between Lycoming Creek and Pine Creek. There was some discrepancy about the treaty with the American Indians on whether or not the settlers were allowed to settle up to Lycoming Creek or Pine Creek.
"So those people who lived in what's now Linden and Jersey Shore banned together and created a group known as the 'Fair Play Men.' They felt that they were not receiving proper protection from armed forces in Harrisburg and decided to write a treaty declaring their independence," Simcox said.
The Fair Play Men signed their treaty of independence from England on July 4, 1776 - the same day that the colonies declared their independence.
"It's a fascinating historical tie in," Simcox said.
The settlers successfully established their own self-governed system from 1773 to 1785. Their system of self-rule came to an end in May 1785, when the U.S. government recognized the settler's claim to the land.
"The Fair Play Men declared their independence because they believed they were doing what was right to protect themselves and their families," Simcot said.
"I believe that spirit of independence and standing up for what's right is still very much a part of this town and its citizens," he added.
The town will celebrate this year with a wide variety of attractions, including a re-enactment of the signing of the Fair Play Men's treaty.
Other events will include the "Grand Parade" from 6:15 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, various craft and food vendors and amusement rides. A fireworks display will begin at about 9:45 p.m. on Saturday.
"The fireworks are going to shoot off from two locations, which is going to be pretty neat. They'll go back and fourth setting them off," Buttorff said. He recommends that people center themselves in Celebration Field for the best view.
Buttorff explained that he is looking forward to the Tiadaghton Elm Hometown Hero Ceremony, which will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at the Jersey Shore Meeting Grounds at the stage.
"This year we have 35 new banners going up to honor local heroes, which brings us to 74 hometown heroes," he said.
"People and businesses sponsor the banner and they can put whomever they chose on it, whether alive or dead. It's wonderful to see all those people who have worked hard at keeping our freedom displayed for everyone to remember," he added.