EASTON, Pa. — Easton and Phillipsburg are both buzzing with excitement. The traditions the communities look forward to all year long are underway, ahead of the annual Thanksgiving rivalry football game.
Easton's bonfire at the high school was lit at 6 p.m.
"This game is talked about all year," said Mia Jenkins, a cheer captain and a senior at Easton Area High School.
So are the festivities leading up to it. It started with Powderpuff. This year, the Liners beat the Rovers. Easton united hundreds of students and community members to build a massive pile of wood; the district then had its senior sleepout ahead of the bonfire, Thanksgiving Eve.
"Through that wood collecting and through all these activities, they actually get to know other kids in the school, groups of kids they maybe never would have hung out with," said James Pokrivsak, the athletic director for Easton Area School District.
"I'm honestly so grateful that I am able to take part in such a big community event," said Jenkins. "It is so inspiring."
Pburg had senior night, decked the halls and will set off fireworks, before meeting Turkey Day morning to cross the Delaware River and walk over to the game as a giant group.
"It's important because it brings everybody together and it gives everyone a sense of unity," said Taylor Williams, a step team member and a senior at Phillipsburg High School.
"The culture that's set for the whole week, I think the kids really look forward to getting into it and it's just a really fun time of year," said Todd Sigafoos, a special education teacher and the head basketball coach at Phillipsburg High School.
"Pburg, we're ten and one right now and I think there's no way of stopping us," said Jake Remian, a member of the Liners Spirit Committee and a senior at Phillipsburg High School.
It's the 115th year, and so many have been attending the rivalry game for as long as they could remember.
"Around 1975, maybe around 8 to ten years old," said Pokrivsak.
"It's just a really great experience to be in the stands with your friends playing music, cheering on the football team," said Hannah Relvas, a senior drum major at Easton Area High School.
"When you walk down there and see just the 17,000 people out there just screaming and chanting and showing off the pride, it's just an awesome experience," said Sigafoos.
You could see Easton's bonfire throughout the night from miles away.
Phillipsburg's fireworks at the PAC Field started at 6:30 p.m.