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Fonthill Fourth


It’s become something of a Harrington tradition.

Each Fourth of July for years now, the Horsham family comes to the Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration at Fonthill Castle in Doylestown. The event’s family atmosphere, the sense of Americana from days gone by – it all makes for a uniquely patriotic and wholesome Independence Day, said dad Mark Harrington.

“It’s just a fantastic celebration of our nation and the freedoms we have,” said Harrington, whose daughter Molly was riding in the children’s patriotic bike parade, dressed in colonial costume and pedaling a bicycle decorated as a horse.

Many in the large crowds that flocked to Fonthill for the Old-Fashioned Fourth on Independence Day expressed sentiments similar to Harrington.

They enjoyed the bike parade that saw youngsters riding over bubble wrap on bicycles bedecked in red-white-and-blue designs.

They liked the old-time games, like wheelbarrow and sack races, and town ball – a kind of precursor to modern baseball that was played in the 18th and 19th centuries.

They also enjoyed the brass bands and a quartet playing music from the past, not to mention the antique bike display, crafts and face painting, dog agility demonstrations and more. Nevermind that it all played out on the rolling green grounds of a century-old castle that’s on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We moved here about three years ago from Manhattan, and we’ve come to Fonthill for the Fourth every year,” said Tammy Goldberg of Doylestown, who was attending with her children Helaina and Teddy, and husband Marc. Added Marc: “The celebration here really captures the spirit of what Fourth of July is all about.”

As the Goldbergs spoke, there was a crack of the stick, signaling a good hit in the town ball game and laughter from the sack races, where a few children were hopping along. Somewhere, Fonthill’s builder and founder, the late Henry Chapman Mercer, was smiling.