JACKSON – This year’s Jackson Day served as more than a large showcase of entertainment, food, children’s games and awareness of the community’s various organizations, it also served as a place of celebration for its 175th birthday.
More than a thousand people turned out to the vast fields of the John F. Johnson Memorial Park for the event which experienced perfect weather.
More than 100 vendors were featured and the day’s fun included a touch a truck area, children’s games and an inflatable bounce attraction, horse drawn carriage rides, a beer and wine tent, a craft fair and flea market plus a car show. Three musical groups, Radio Nashville, Amish Outlaws and Mello Kings provided entertainment throughout the day.
The members of the award-winning Jackson Memorial High School Band performed the Star-Spangled Banner.
Tim McCue and his 4-year-old daughter Isabella traveled from Bayville for the event. They didn’t wait for the 11 a.m. start of the event to enjoy an ice cream cone for what would be a warm day.
“I love the activities and the vibe here. We come every year,” McCue said.
George and Josephine Corbiscello were sitting beside each other but representing two different organizations. Both, however, have a mutual interest in the township’s history and are advocates for the Township’s Historical Commission which is seeking to restore the township’s old Prospertown School house.
“The schoolhouse is falling apart,” said Josephine Corbiscello, a member of the community’s historic commission. She recalled the structure’s transfer off Six Flags Great Adventure property decades ago.
“It was going to be torn down but thankfully it was moved. Great Adventure gave the school to the town with the understanding it would be preserved and cared for. It was built in 1830,” Josephine Corbiscello said.
The school was moved to the municipal center and is financed by donations. During its recent past it was discovered that a water pipe had burst and the basement was under water resulting in mold growth.
She manned a table filled with historic photographs and artifacts from Jackson’s past. Her husband George is a member of the Jackson Rotary Club.
“It will cost $20,000 to clear out just the mold,” George Corbiscello said. The couple is hopeful that through grants and volunteer work, the historic site can be restored.
Former Township Clerk and historian David T. Miller, Sr. states on the township’s website that in 1844, and in honor of ex-President Andrew Jackson, Jackson Township was incorporated by the state legislature as a new municipality in Monmouth County by taking portions of Freehold, Upper Freehold and Dover Township. Initially the new Jackson encompassed 170 square miles and included Plumsted Township.
Although it has dwindled during the years, as other municipalities were created by the Legislature, to 100.4 square miles, it remains the largest municipality in Ocean County and the third largest in the state. Agriculture was the main industry of Jackson Township’s population prior to 1955.
Members of the Cornerstone Presbyterian Church were sharing their own history at Jackson Day. Their table featured several photo albums filled with photographs of their renovation work that made their dream of having a permanent church location a reality. Their historic church is located at 569 Harmony Road.
Allyson Moyer, the church’s youth advisor said that the church enjoyed its grand opening on Harmony Road in November of 2018 and that they held their services at the Christa McAuliffe Middle School on Hope Chapel Road prior to that. She said the parish has roots back to the Harmony Methodist Church and renovation work began in 2012 after 17 years of worship services held in township schools.
“We have a bell from 1886 which we ring each Sunday and we were given a stained-glass window that was perfectly preserved. The building was built in 1865. Our history is amazing,” Moyer said.
Council Vice President Barry Calogero joined councilmen Kenneth J. Bressi, Alex Sauickie III and Andrew Kern for the opening ceremonies, each sporting their black polo shirts featuring the 175th celebration logo.
“The spirit of Jackson is alive and well today and we have a lot of people here enjoying our special day,” Calogero said.
“This is another wonderful event in a long list of fall events in the township. It is great to be a part of the 175th celebration year,” Sauickie said.
“It is a good event and it shows the unity we have here and there is more to that then people realize,” Bressi added.
Joining the councilmen on stage were 12th District Assemblymen Ronald S. Dancer and Robert D. Clifton. Township Business Administrator Terence Wall welcomed everyone to the day’s many activities. “On behalf of Mayor Michael Reina, welcome to the 175th anniversary of Jackson Township.”
The township’s Republican and Democrat clubs were out in force reminding residents about the November general election. There is no municipal election this year. Members of the township GOP club had a life-sized cardboard cutout of President Donald Trump that people could be photographed beside while members of the Democratic Club gave out pamphlets explaining the U.S. Constitution.