The 15th annual Fall Fest will return to Stillwater on Saturday, Oct. 9, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Stillwater Elementary School. There will be hayrides, food, pumpkin, vendors, pony rides and games. The event is run by the Historical Society of Stillwater Township, and this year, Mayor Lisa Chammings will be awarded the Society’s Citizenship Award.
“In recognition of her extraordinary service to the community of Stillwater Township and to her uniquely inspiring and compassionate leadership during the Covid pandemic, it is with great honor that we dedicate the Historical Society of Stillwater Township’s 15th Annual Fall Festival Award to our Mayor Lisa Chammings,” said Deborah Drumm, who co-chairs the festival with Roy Knutsen.
Chammings is a lifelong member of the historical society. She was born in Stillwater to Lois and Edmund Chammings. Lois was a teacher in Stillwater Schools, and Edmund was Stillwater’s police chief. Chammings followed in her mother’s scholastic career and started teaching in the 1987-88 school year. Her first 13 years were in private schools, then she moved to Kittatinny Regional High School, where she is currently a science teacher.
Chammings is also the coordinator of OEM (Office of Emergency Management) in Stillwater Township. She responds to all the needs of the residents during emergencies, including storms, fires, and floods.
“Our historical society is a hidden gem,” Chammings said. “The members work behind the scenes and tirelessly promote as best they can our historical background and facilities. The work being done to restore and reopen our grist mill is tremendous. The volumes of genealogy and historical events at our neighborhood house are most definitely hidden treasures. While their biggest fundraiser is of course the Fall Festival they work all year. To be named their citizenship award is an honor when I even consider my name next to all of the past recipients. My mom and dad always did the hay rides for the festival, and I have tried to continue the tradition. I am glad it is back this year after last year’s cancellation.”
Dedicated through Covid
Chammings has been an elected Township Committee member since 2012 and was a Stillwater Township Recreation member and chairperson for 10 years before that. She was elected mayor in 2017. Chammings is a farmer, a teacher, a friend, a mayor, and now, additionally, a bus driver.
“She is part of the tapestry of our community,” Drumm said. “She tends the soil, intellectually cultivates our children, and is mindful of our needs as we navigate through this fearful time. Her words bring comfort, her life is history, and she drives an awfully mean tractor.”
During Covid, Chammings was very proactive when it came to keeping citizens informed about what was going on.
“Her dedication to the citizens of Stillwater was reinforced when she posted daily updates at the height of the Covid pandemic,” said Beth Fetterman Martin, the society’s new administrative assistant.
The historical society recently received a grant from Ken. R. Woodcock, a businessman, art collector, and longtime philanthropist of historic preservation. He has awarded a grant of $30,000 ($10,000 per year) to the Historical Society of Stillwater Township. It is the largest financial commitment that the non-profit has received during its 40-year history as a volunteer community organization. This grant has allowed the society to hire Martin as its administrative assistant.
“Woodcock’s three-year grant is designated for organizational ‘capacity building,’” Drumm said. “In addition to the administrative assistant, one of our first steps was to improve communications by ramping up social media and updating its website.”
Also recently, Ed Szabo, representing the Stillwater Tax Payers Association, which has been in existence since 1959, handed over all of its archives to the society.
“The Tax Payers Association has done so much good over the years,” Drumm said. “They’re a cool, non-political group that has had monthly speakers and given out a number of scholarships. It’s great to have its history as part of the historical society.”
Saturday’s Fall Fest will kick off with a tractor parade line up at 9:45 a.m. The entire event is free to the public and will be held at the Stillwater Township Elementary School, 1068 Hudson Avenue, Stillwater. For further information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Our historical society is a hidden gem. The members work behind the scenes and tirelessly promote as best they can our historical background and facilities.” Mayor Lisa Chammings