the history of harrison fest

Harrison Fest was founded in 1995.  From it's humble beginning as a small gathering of Harrisonians, Harrison Fest has grown into an event that attracts not only Harrison residents but people from throughout New Jersey. Harrison Fest provides something for everyone.  If you like a Parade, a Street Fest, Live Music, Cultural Dancing Groups, and various Ethic Foods, Harrison Fest has it.  We welcome you to Harrison.  We extend a warm welcome to all, new and old, to enjoy Harrison Fest 2017.

Harrison Fest celebrates the rich multicultural backgrounds that make Harrison the great Town that it is.  One weekend a year we learn about other cultures and also show others our own heritage.  The rich heritage that has existed in Harrison through the generations who have made Harrison their own, is on display in one weekend and remembered for years.

We hope that you enjoy this celebration and that you take part in adding your culture to the celebration.  Once you experience Harrison Fest and the many cultures of Harrison's residence you will realize how all the cultures put together make Harrison such a great town to live in.



harrison's history

The Town of Harrison was formed in 1840 in the back room of the Lodi Hotel which was located on the northeast corner of Harrison and Schuyler Avenues in present Harrison.  The Lodi Hotel was built in 1736.

In 1840, all of what is presently Harrison was part of the Township of Lodi.  Thus the name Lodi Hotel.  The Town encompassed the entire area of West Hudson, and South Bergen as far north as Rutherford.  Since Lodi was part of Bergen County, matters dealing with county government and courts had to be taken to Hackensack, the county seat, which was a day's journey north in the 1800's.  The residents of Harrison, Secaucus, Bayonne, Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken and Union City petitioned for the creation of a new county making Jersey City, the county seat. 

The County of Hudson was created on February 22, 1840.  At that time the Town of Harrison included all area south of the Belleville Turnpike, what is now Harrison, Kearny and East Newark.

The first Harrison Town Committee meeting was held on April 16 at the Lodi Hotel.  The original committee was comprised of Peter H. Kip, Cornelius C. Jerolaman, Enock V. Vreeland, Isacc Van Winkle and James Jerolmann.

In 1912, President William Howard Taft stumped for re-election in New Jersey and coined the town's motto.  After Harrison officials successfully lobbied to have the President include Harrison on his election tour, they arranged a reception which drew over 6,000 people, who braved pouring rain to see the President.  Taft addressing the crowd after touring the town told them "You have reason to be proud of this Hive of Industry."  The slogan was quickly picked up for the town's use and Harrison became known as the "Beehive of Industry".  To this day despite a change from an industrial town to a mostly residential town, the spirit of entrepreneurs lives on.

Situated near major rail facilities and possessing a large waterfront, Harrison was favorably situated to reap the benefits of entrepreneurs. Harrison was home to the Thomas Edison Lamp Works whose building later became The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) Company, Worthington Pump and Machinery, the Peter Hauck Brewery, Driver-Harrison Company, a division of General Motors, the Crucible Steel Company, Charles F. Guyon, Otis Elevator, Stewart Hartshorn, Hartz Mountain, Two Guys (from Harrison) Department Stores which late became the Vornado Realty Trust and Harrison Baking (Pechters).

In 2015,  Harrison Celebrated its 175th Anniversary.  New developments are springing up setting the stage for the town's 200th Anniversary celebration and fulfilling the town Redevelopment plan.  The Mayor and Council adopted a new town logo designed by a local student reflecting the transformation of its industrial area into a vibrant residential community with easy access to New York City and Newark, NJ.

As part of the Harrison Fest 2017 celebrations there will be a Queens Gala dinner celebrating the various ethnic groups which make up the fabric of the Harrison community with a pageant.  The Gala dinner will be held on Friday, September 15, 2017 in the Holy Cross Banquet Hall in Harrison New Jersey.  More information on the Queens Gala dinner can be found on this website including on how to participate.  You can also call the phone number below for more information.