Fall is here, and where better to spend an autumn weekend that at Bordentown City’s Cranberry Fest. Now in its 29th year, this two-day event, happening October 6 and 7, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., is one of the oldest juried craft shows in New Jersey, and one of Bordentown City’s most eagerly anticipated weekends, regularly attracting tens of thousands of visitors to this historic river town.
Over the course of Cranberry Festival weekend, Farnsworth Avenue will once again play host to more than 150 artists and artisans, crafters, and makers offering one-of-a-kind, unique, handmade, vintage, and upcycled treats meant to help nourish your heart and home, body and soul. In addition, Bordentown City’s award-winning restaurants, and Farnsworth Avenue’s eclectic shops and boutiques will be out as well, helping to make this event one that truly offers something for everyone.
Started in 1989 by Jackie Reed, a lifelong Bordentown City resident, and one of the original founders of the Downtown Bordentown Association (DBA), the inaugural Cranberry Festival started modestly enough, with 12 crafters nestled onto one block of Walnut Street. But guided by Jackie’s vision and leadership, the festival quickly grew to encompass all of the Farnsworth Avenue business district and became one of the largest craft shows in the area. Jackie retired from the festival at the end 2016 leaving the DBA feeling as though it had some big shoes to fill. But as current festival organizer, Leon Stanley says, “Jackie left us a great event, with solid bones and a real legacy. We’ve just tried our best to maintain the integrity of the festival, and do it in a way the respects Jackie’s decades long contribution to both the festival and the city.”
But the festival has found ways to grow and evolve. Stanley continues: “Last year we integrated a beer garden and live music into the festival, and both will be back this year. We’ve also actively reached out to the younger generation of makers and artists, and have embraced the invigorating culture they bring. We’ve also brought on some corporate sponsors, but they really have become true partners, allowing us new options and opportunities. Both Modern Recycled Spaces and Smires Realty have new presences in town and have come on board this year. Bordentown Home for Funerals is back as sponsor of the ‘Kids’ Zone,’ allowing us to offer our bouncy houses free of charge.”
Steeped in colonial history and home to a variety of colorful residents over its nearly 340 years, Bordentown City is fast becoming a destination where visitors can shop, dine, and enjoy its quaint downtown. Which is all perfectly in keeping with the DBA’s stated mission of: “to promote Bordentown City as a great place to live, work, dine, shop and have fun-all within a peaceful historic setting.”
So if you’ve never visited Bordentown City or its Cranberry Fest, October 6 and 7th would be the perfect weekend to come see for yourself what the buzz is all about.
For more information about Cranberry Fest, please go to btowncranfest.com. And for information about the Downtown Bordentown Association, its members and list of events, please go to DowntownBordentown.com.