Thanksgiving Tradition: Easton (Pennsylvania) Bonfire

Easton football bonfireEaston celebrates the eve of its rivalry game against Phillipsburg with a bonfire and fireworks Wednesday night.
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I’ve always said that I was born in THE best place – the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania — for high school football. The main reason I say this is because I know what Turkey Day high school football is all about.

High school football on Thanksgiving is mostly a northeast tradition with fans in Connecticut, eastern Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island getting a heaping helping of rivalry football before sitting-down with the family for the main course.

There are many great Thanksgiving Day games, but in my mind, nothing beats the EastonPhillipsburg game that will be played for the 110th time on Thursday morning at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania at…wait…wait…Fisher Field.  No relation to me, but it’s still cool.

There are many things that make this rivalry game unique, not the least of which is the fact that the only thing that separates the two communities is the Delaware River with Phillipsburg on the New Jersey side and Easton in Pennsylvania.  The cliche that records don’t matter, really comes true as these two teams play before a sellout crowd no matter what the W’s and L’s say.  However, the fact of the matter is, both teams are very good with Phillipsburg being Jersey’s all-time winningest program and Easton having the second most all-time wins in the Keystone State.  Between the two, they’re closing-in on 1,500 all-time victories.  The only rivalry game in America that has more combined wins is in Ohio where Massillon and McKinley have been battling since 1894.  Both teams have over 800 wins each.

Easton enters Thursday’s game with a 6-6 record, while Phillipsburg, or P’burg for short, is 5-4

My favorite part of the tradition of the game is the Easton bonfire, which occurs the night before the two hit the field. Phillipsburg dropped its annual bonfire several year’s ago and now gets pumped-up with fireworks, but Easton continues to fire-up its players, students and community with a good old fashion bonfire, which is built by students, who collect wood, mostly pallets, and stack them some 20+ feet in the air near the school’s gymnasium.

Easton bonfire

Easton students collect wood and build the bonfire on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Below you can check-out our photos and video from Wednesday night’s celebration that also included fireworks.


Happy Thanksgiving!


Easton bonfire

Easton’s theme at the top of the bonfire is always the same — Beat P’burg.

Easton bonfire

The 20 football high stack of wood goes-up in flames very quickly and throws-off tremendous heat.

Easton bonfire

Easton students walk near the enormous bonfire.

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.