To Our Harrison Family,
Currently our Rec. Commission members are working like busy beavers along with their committed volunteers, generous sponsors and local businesses in preparation for this year’s Harrison Township Day… Well, more like an entire weekend! Properly titled “Celebration on Main”, it will take place along Main Street on June 4-6. I hope you are getting as excited as I am for what promises to be a fun-filled day for all!
I’ve asked Robert “Bob” Schuman, President of the Harrison Township Historical Society to share the history of Harrison Township Day.
Harrison Township Day 1992 – 2021
The first Harrison Township Day was celebrated May 2, 1992. If not for the cancellation last year due to the Covid19 pandemic, this would have been the 30th anniversary. This year, June 5th will be the 29th year of our community celebration.
How did this day come about?
The Harrison Township Bicentennial Birthday Party June 26 – 27, 1976 was a significant event that brought the community together. A parade began at Harrison Township School at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning proceeding down Main Street and ending just past Old Town Hall at Fowell Lane. The opening ceremonies were held at the 4H Grounds with two educational and fun days. The crowning of Miss Harrison Township, Miss Elaine Starr on Saturday opening the program and a horse show on Sunday concluded the celebration.
The parade was led by the Harrison Township Police Department, Harmony Fire Company Mullica Hill, Ewan Fire Company and many other local Fire Departments, bands, floats with local organizations and clubs, antique cars, farm equipment, Miss Harrison Township contestants, State and local representatives and officials and the Nur Temple Shriners from New Castle Delaware who brought their camels. Watching the camels walking down Main Street with Shriners driving their miniature cars was the highlight of the parade.
The person responsible for coordinating the Harrison Township Bicentennial Birthday Party was the Chairman of the Bicentennial Committee, Mrs. William Harris or better known to all as Ella Harris. Many community members assisted Ella, notably Bob McTyre as Chairman of the parade committee. The opening ceremonies took place at the 4H Fairgrounds because no other locations in the township were available.
After the Bicentennial Party, Ella Harris saw the need for a community park and began urging the Township Committee to consider a location. When Ella became aware that the Township was buying the land where the current township park is located Ella said: “That is it, we are going to have a park”. On May 19th, 1979, the Harrison Township Recreation Park was dedicated. This Park later was named Ella Harris Recreation Park, today is known to all as Ella Harris Park.
A notable quote by Ella Harris came from an article in the Gloucester County Times November 16, 1982. Ella was asked her reasons for the years of involvement with the creation of the park. She said: “I don’t do this because I have nothing else to do. I’m a grandmother and I do it because I want open spaces for future generations.”
Her commitment is the embodiment of what our community was then and continues to be today.
In 1992 the first Harrison Township Day was celebrated. We thank all who decided to and organize this event that has become a tradition. The Township Committee, our community members and of course Ella Harris.
Thank you, Bob, for the history of this special day! You can find more details of our plans for the Celebration on Main here. I hope your family and friends will join me for this great salute to Harrison Strong!
Together for Harrison Township,