Pennington Traditions

Like a Norman Rockwell painting, Pennington often portrays itself as a charming “Hometown USA” kind of place. And the residents value the many traditions that reinforce that feeling.

There’s nothing more “American” than the Memorial Day Parade, with our honored veterans the focus of crowds lining Main Street. Kids ride bikes they’ve decorated for the occasion, flags – many hung in memory of those who served – festoon a street lined with neighbors in lawn chairs. Hopewell Valley Central High School’s Marching Black and Gold is a perennial favorite, and the band always pauses for a rendition of Taps in the center of town before continuing its musical march.

Photo credit: Margaret J. O’Connell Collection, courtesy St. James Church.


Annual festivities begin with the exceedingly popular Easter Egg Hunt in Kunkel Park organized by the Pennington Parks and Recreation Commission. A town favorite for anyone with children, it is not to be missed. Bring your basket and look forward to a visit from the Easter Bunny while you’re there.


The first of May means May Day at Toll Gate, the elementary school on Main Street. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s fun to stop by and watch the students duck in and out of the ribbons as they circle ‘round the May Pole!

Next up, the third Saturday in May, is Pennington Day, a street fair begun as a fundraiser for the Pennington School after it suffered a fire back in February, 1980. Today it’s a regionally-attended event that closes down Main Street for a day of food, fun, entertainment, vendors, a quilt show, an art show, even an old-fashioned pie eating contest. The proceeds fund grants, such as the one we received for the development of this very website. The day begins with the Pennington Day 5K Race and 1 Mile Walk.


Memorial Day and Labor Day also feature Concerts on the Common sponsored by the Pennington Parks & Recreation Commission, who also hold the July 4th Races—a  morning of track fun for little ones.


Other fun events from the Parks & Recreation Commission are periodic Family Concerts and Movie Nights in Kunkel Park, a favorite outdoor evening for all. For all of these events, bring a picnic dinner, blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy a night with the neighbors!

Then it’s back-to-school, falling leaves and the Halloween Parade down Main Street. Organized by the Hopewell Valley Y, it’s an afternoon of fun for the entire community. Whole families have been known to get into the act. Anyone remember the Flintstones?


Rounding out the year is the Holiday Walk, sponsored by the Pennington Business & Professional Association the first Friday night in December. The Snowflakes are lit along Main Street, the tree lighting is held in Howe Commons, Santa Claus arrives on a firetruck, and the shopkeepers welcome the community for an evening of caroling, strolling, hot chocolates, photos with Santa, and—always—something special for kids at the Library!


The Shade Tree Committee of Pennington Borough encourages the greening and beautifying of our town by inviting residents to purchase trees to be planted throughout town. For $300 you can honor someone, remember a loved one, celebrate a milestone in your life, by having a tree planted along with a granite marker at its base, noting the occasion.


Parks & Recreation sponsors the Adopt-a-Flag Program. Each year, American flags are installed along Main Street and Delaware Avenue in May, in time to honor our finest on Memorial Day. There through October, they remind us all to cherish this special hometown of ours, as well as the many people the flags have been purchased to honor or memorialize. For $42 you can fly a flag in honor of someone special in your life.