The Nazareth Rotary Club will be selling commemorative roses in honor of the historic “payment day" from 3pm to 6pm on Friday, June 10 and from 8am to 1 pm on Saturday, June 11.
The long-stemmed roses will sell for $3.50 each during the rose sale, which is in its fourth year.
“We ordered 1,000 roses,” said Sue Dreydoppel, a local historian and Nazareth Rotary Club member. The roses will be provided by Nazareth Floral Designs at Donahoe Farms.
According to Dreydoppel, the local Rotary Club raised almost $2,000 during each of the previous rose sales, but this year, the club's goal is to exceed the $2,000 mark. Proceeds will benefit community organizations and projects in Nazareth, Dreydoppel added.
But why a rose sale? And, more important, what is the significance of "payment day?"
Originally, Nazareth was a tract of 5,000 acres owned by William Penn’s family. When the Penn family sold the land to George Whitefield, the feudal tax was one red rose. Every year -- on June 24 -- Whitefield would pay one red rose to the Penn family, explained Dreydoppel.
The rose tax can be traced back to medieval times in England, Dreydoppel said, adding that the tax was a way for baronies -- estates controlled by knights of a baron (nobleman) -- to show their fealty (allegiance).
“[The tax] was just a formality… a way to swear allegiance,” Dreydoppel said. “But back then, it was English law.”
The tradition started by the Penn family of "payment day" led to Nazareth’s Colonial name, “The Barony of the Rose.” In addition, Whitefield called his tract of land "The Barony of Nazareth" before the Moravians purchased the land in 1741.
In present day Nazareth, evidence of "The Barony of the Rose" can be seen on signs that welcome travelers to the historic town.
A re-enactment of the historic rose presentation will be performed by costumed performers at noon on June 11 as part of the 33rd Annual Arts & Crafts Festival at the Whitefield House.
Rotarians and members from the Nazareth Area Intermediate School and Nazareth Area High School Interact Clubs will be stationed at several locations throughout the Nazareth area selling the long-stemmed roses.
Center Square in downtown Nazareth will be the main location to purchase roses; however, other selling locations may include:
- U.S. Post Office, 9 N. Main St.
- Nazareth Diner
- KNBT Bank (Broad Street branch, Friday only)
- Resslers Market
- Army & Navy Store
- Whitefield House Museum (Saturday only)
- Moravian Hall Square (for residents only)
Availability of roses at these locations will depend on volunteer turnout on the days of the sale.
The Nazareth Rotary Club holds several fundraisers throughout the year, the proceeds of which benefit the Memorial Library of Nazareth and Vicinity, the Nazareth YMCA, the Moravian Historical Society and the Nazareth Area Food Bank, just to name a few. The club also awards two $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors from Nazareth Area High School.