December 31, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
The Great Meadow, 1761 Brearley House
Create a list of all the bad things you want to forget about the year and bring it to the fire on New Year's Eve.
Toss it in the flames and watch it burn.
Please Note - We cannot accept donated wood or items to add to the bonfire. Federal and state regulations limit the size of the fire and the type of wood that can be burned. Items left at the site violate township dumping laws and have to be removed at a cost to the society. Violators are subject to a fine.
Parking Information!!! Parking will be offsite at the Vision Management complex on Lenox Drive. Visitors are asked to enter the lot at the light on Princeton Pike and Lenox Drive. Follow the road to the rear lots, where you can either walk a lighted trail to Brearley House or board a shuttle bus.
Refreshments will be available for sale by Captain Paul's Firehouse Dogs.
The Hogmanay Bonfire will take place in the Great Meadow behind the Brearley House and will be lit promptly at 6:00pm by our fire master, Tom Ledwith. Due to state fire regulations, the bonfire will end at 8:00pm.
Please leave your pets at home. The crowds at the bonfire do tend to be large, making it difficult to control animals that get excited or frightened by the crowd.
The event and shuttle buses are provided for free by the Society, but you may make a donation in the house or online.
A bagpiper will be onsite to entertain the crowd and the house will be open.
Paper and pencils will also be available for you to write down all the bad things from the previous year that you wish to toss into the fire. You are also invited to prepare a list in advance and bring it to the fire.
For more information, contact us via e-mail or call 609-895-1728.
The Hogmanay Bonfire has been a tradition for the Lawrence Historical Society since 1997. The bonfire began as a way to showcase the Brearley House while it was being renovated and proved to be so popular it has become an annual event.
The first bonfire was suggested by Joe Logan, who recalled similar fires that took place in his childhood home of Savannah, Georgia. The bonfires of his boyhood were a New Year's Eve community celebration to mark the end of the holiday season with the burning of the year's Christmas trees.
LHS took Logan's suggestion and combined it with Hogmanay, another festival that often includes bonfires and a large community gathering. It is our hope that you will enjoy our gift to the community by bringing along your family and friends to celebrate a new year and have a good time.
Hogmanay is a Scottish New Year's celebration that has it roots in Pagan tradition. To this day, Hogmanay is the main winter holiday and includes many Christmas-like features, such as gift giving.
The most important aspect of any Hogmanay celebration is cleansing for the new year. Cleansing includes paying off old debts, washing the home, and banishing thoughts of bad happenings from the previous year.
Other traditions include the banging of pots at midnight to ward off dark spirits, banishing stray dogs to keep evil at bay, and firstfooting - a tradition of visiting friends and relatives at midnight to bring them good cheer to start off the new year.