Monday, July 8, 2013

Crowd Delights in Celebration of Easton's Heritage

By Christina Georgiou

Christopher Black, as Robert Levers, reading the
Declaration of Independence at Easton Heritage
Day on Sunday.

In true Easton spirit, a hardy crowd braved soaring temperatures and a brief thunderstorm late in the day to fully partake in the 36th Annual Easton Heritage Day on Sunday.

Christopher Black, portrayed colonial-era patriot Robert Levers and gave a rousing reading of the Declaration of Independence on Centre Square, near the site of the former Northampton County courthouse where it was read for the third time ever in 1776, to an enthusiastic and appreciative gathered crowd.

Black has participated as a period-dressed citizen in Easton's premier annual event since he and his wife, Patricia Burton, moved to the city about eight years ago, but this was his first year with a major role to play in the event.

"It was delightful," he said after the reading. "I do feel like it's such an honor."

Black added that his time with the former off-Broadway Jean Cocteau Repertory Theatre when he lived in New York City helped him prepare for the experience.

While many might be nervous at getting up in front of such a huge crowd, Black seemed to take it in stride.

"It was fun," he said.

The rest of Heritage Day similarly seemed to go smoothly as well.

Members of the 153rd Pennsylvania Volunteers enjoy a bit
of shade.
As other events, including living history appearances from members of the 153rd Pennsylvania Volunteers, the Whitehall Guard, 9th Division WWII Historical Preservation Society, Craig's Artillery, and the New Jersey Frontier Guard, celebrated Easton's diverse and interesting past, the crowd seemed to enjoy the celebration of the city's heritage.

New events this year included Mayor Sal Panto leading children armed with plastic bugles in a  "Be the Bugler" activity and a Loyalists versus Revolutionaries debate by a group of town criers, led by Easton's own crier, David Rose.

And, of course, the usual amusements, including numerous live music performances, food, a beer tent, and lots of carnival games and children's activities rounded out the day.

Easton police said there were no incidents or heat-related emergencies, though mid-afternoon one woman twisted an ankle.

And, while there was some brief worry due to a short thunderstorm in the early evening that an otherwise wonderful day might end in soggy disappointment, the fireworks show over the forks of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers went off without a hitch.

"That was awesome," one Heritage Day attendee was overheard to say as the last mortar exploded over the waters, a sentiment that seemed widely echoed all around.




Note: The Easton Eccentric got some great video of Easton Heritage Day fireworks, and we are waiting for them to be "processed" and posted on YouTube, though it was uploaded last night. We'll update and add embedded video here as soon as they are available. You can try clicking here for the abbreviated version, which includes just the finale, or click here for the full show, which runs just under 23 minutes.

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