For more than six decades, thousands of nearby residents have huddled on the shores of the Delaware River on Christmas Day to watch the reenactment of the 1776 crossing by Gen. George Washington and his troops.
Historians say the crossing that day was made almost impossible by miserable weather conditions, including freezing rain and an ice-choked river.
The weather this Christmas Day by comparison would have caused Washington far fewer problems. Even so, the invasion force found itself stuck on the shoreline this year by Mother Nature.
Instead, the troops walked across the river.
Organizers with Washington Crossing Park, which hosts the annual event, had been confronting weather issues for days leading up to Christmas.
Last week, it was low water levels in the Delaware River that threatened the ability to travel across the river by boat. The vessels used in the crossing could not navigate the shallow waters caused by lack of rain.
But park officials thought the day had been saved when nonprofit Philadelphia Waterborne, which teaches boat-building skills to middle- and high-school students lent the park handmade, 12-foot rowboats that can be used in low water.
The weather dealt a final blow, though, when unexpected heavy wind gusts swept in on Christmas morning. Just after noon, park officials threw in the towel and canceled the river crossing because of high winds.
The Hopewell Township Police Department made the official announcement on Facebook, saying the re-enactments of General George Washington crossing the river in 1776 on the Pennsylvania side of the ceremony were still slated to take place.
Reneactors and attendees were still able to cross the Washington Crossing Bridge on foot, making their way to the Pennsylvania side of the river in time to pull off an account of the historic day.
This year’s event is the 65th anniversary of re-enacting Washington’s crossing, an annual event that draws thousands of people to the banks of the river in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, and Titusville, New Jersey.