AMITY — While the Amity Township community has been literally looking back 300 years since Jan. 1, township officials are planning future community events based on the success of 2019.
The township recently held the last of five events that recognized and celebrated its incorporation in 1719.
Amity’s Harvest Festival was held Oct. 12-13 at Amity Community Park, Weavertown Road, Douglassville. It was organized by the 300th Anniversary Committee.
Harvest Festival featured carnival rides, live music, beer and wine gardens, kids inflatables, local vendors, food trucks, Thunderbolts Twirling, a Cornhole Tournament, pumpkin painting, a Trunk or Treat event, bonfire, and kids movies on both nights.
The 300th year was kicked off by Winterfest on New Year’s Day (the “rain date” from a rainy and cold New Year’s Eve), a History Event in April, May’s Jamboree, and August’s Summer Fest and Car Show.
Committee Chairperson Kevin Keifrider said all the events were well attended with positive comments.
“Some of our event Facebook pages were viewed by 20,000 people,” he said.
“And, the comments on these posts were that people want to see the events continue,” said Township Manager Troy Bingaman.
The committee also used Facebook to conduct a poll, asking which event was the most successful.
Harvest Festival was the favorite.
Committee members and the township want to make next year’s event even bigger by including the Daniel Boone Optimist Club, the Lions Club, the Blazer Foundation, and other church and civic organizations, which will result in a “Community Days” type event.
Community Days was canceled in 2016 due to lack of funding and diminishing community interest.
It had been a 43-year tradition in the Douglassville area, always held the weekend after Labor Day at the Lake Drive Recreation Area.
Keifrider and Bingaman said corporations, local businesses, vendors, and individuals really stepped up to help fund the events by providing $105,000 in funds.
Money remains from that, which will fund next year’s Harvest Festival.
“We wanted to spend the sponsorship money for the community,” said Keifrider, “and I told the sponsors that I didn’t want to ask for money again next summer.”
“The biggest comment on Facebook was that the events brought the community together, which it did. People came from Oley, Birdsboro, Exeter Township, Douglass Township. I saw people running into each other, and people remember Community Days.”
The township will also host several Movies in the Park next year.
Amity is the oldest incorporated township in Berks County.
It was founded by a group of Swedes from Delaware, who settled along the Schuylkill River in 1701, on 10,500 acres of land granted to them by William Penn.
Their settlement later became known as Morlatton, due to the fertile ground suitable for farming.
Morlatton Village contains Berks County’s oldest structure, the Mouns Jones House (1716), as well as the White Horse Inn (1762), the George Douglass Mansion (1763), and the Bridge Keepers House (1730 or 1830).
The 10,500 acres were incorporated as Amity Township in 1719 by application to the Philadelphia court, and became a municipality of Philadelphia County.
Keifrider said there are still 300th Commemorative Books available for purchase at the township building.
The cost is $20 a book, which contains pictures from the Amity Heritage Society, photos donated to the township by local residents, and photos and postcards that Keifrider found and purchased from Ebay.
“Thank you to the Amity Heritage Society for providing a lot of photos, and stories,” said Keifrider.
“The sponsors came through big,” said Bingaman.
“When we started planning the 300th Anniversary celebrations two years ago, we didn’t know if we would raise enough money. We are very thankful to all the sponsors.”
He said the township is working on the design and location for a “Sponsor Wall” at the township building, in order to recognize everyone that contributed.