Woosamonsa Schoolhouse Strawberry Shortcake Festival, A Sweet Remembrance of Simpler Times

No one is “too cool for school” when there is a delectable summer dessert in store for them.  The trustees of the Woosamonsa Schoolhouse invite the community to a Strawberry Shortcake Festival held at the well-loved site in Hopewell Township on Sunday June 21st from 1-4 pm.   Built in 1875, it is Pennington’s oldest surviving schoolhouse building.

Families looking for something fun to do with Dad on Father’s Day won’t want to miss the Strawberry Shortcake Festival at the Woosamonsa Schoolhouse, where people can enjoy an old-fashioned ice cream social and get a glimpse of what schools and life were like over a century ago.

Strawberry Shortcake Sundaes include a large serving of fresh strawberries over shortcake, hand-scooped ice cream and whipped cream. Tickets are priced at $7 for adults and children 6 years or older.  Children 5 and under are free.  Tickets may be purchased in advance at Jack’s Greenhouse and Farm, or at the door. 100% of the proceeds from the festival will help raise funds for the upkeep of the historic property.

In addition to strawberry shortcake sundaes, Schoolhouse visitors will enjoy music by the area’s favorite folk performers, Fiddlesticks.  The duo, whose music epitomizes the authentic sounds of the Sourlands Mountains, will also entertain with pass-around puppets and square dance calling.  Games and crafts for kids will also be featured.

For those who have wondered about the curious building at the intersection of Woosamonsa and Poor Farm Roads, it is a restored one-room schoolhouse maintained by a non-profit neighborhood organization dedicated to preserving its original condition at the time it closed in 1918.  “Strawberry Socials” are a longstanding tradition at the Schoolhouse, some long-term residents remember them being held as early as 1925 during the Great Depression and for many years after.

“The more years that pass, the more precious this building is to the region,” said Erwin Harbat, a lifelong township resident and trustee of the Woosamonsa Schoolhouse Association.  “It reminds each of us how people lived and learned before the arrival of computers, the Internet and Smartphones.”

Harbat said the school district gave the, then out-of-use, building to the Association in 1922 on the condition that it was to be used only for social gatherings and community service purposes.  Over the years, the various trustees have made every effort to preserve its original character and charm.

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