HADDONFIELD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- "When the British occupied Philadelphia in 1778, this was a critical area of conflict," said Joe Murphy about his hometown of Haddonfield.
Murphy is the Chair of the Skirmish Committee within the Friends of the Indian King Tavern Museum, which has drawn crowds to a living history event since 2014. On the first Saturday of June, their 'skirmish' depicts Colonial troops challenging the British invasion of their town as they did 244 years ago.
"Of course, we had a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic," said Murphy. "And we decided that this year, we were going to do the biggest and best ever."
Murphy and other volunteers partnered with nearly 40 organizations to bring various living history events to the town for one beautiful day. The Haddonfield Lions Club hosted a breakfast with troops to serve inspired food items and engage with children. Character reenactors, yelling contests, and plenty of open businesses made Kings Highway brimming with life.
"We live in Haddonfield. It's a lot of history," said Jeff Madden. "It's the first time our kids are coming to this and we thought it would be a good learning experience, being in the town here with everybody."
The event culminated with a booming skirmish where hundreds of spectators gazed at smoke billowing from fired muskets and a cannon.
"It was really fun to watch," said 11-year-old David Weiss, who was visiting South Jersey from Texas. "I got to see some moments that actually happened in history."
With all their hard work paid off, history lovers like Joe Murphy are already looking forward to next year's event.
"It's a very special town. It's a real community where people work together, they care about the town, and they're willing to volunteer," said Murphy. "So, I'm confident that this will continue and that people continue to learn about this important part of our history."
To learn more about Friends of the Indian King Tavern Museum, visit their website.
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