By Amy Batista, Special Writer
CRANBURY – The 19th annual Cranbury Crafts Show will be held at the Cranbury School on Main Street Saturday, March 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, March 13, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The event usually draws more than 2,000 people, according to Kelly Devine, the event’s co-chair. The craft show team is led by Susan Kasziba and Melanie Joseph.
“They coordinate and fill our show with spectacular crafters,” said Ms. Devine. “They are also a fabulous resource for encouraging volunteers and have helped to spearhead the show, making positive changes for both the crafters and shoppers.”
According to the Cranbury Education Foundation website, the 2016 show is now full and no longer accepting applications except for consideration on the wait list.
The craft show is a fundraiser for the nonprofit Cranbury Education Foundation. Since its inception, the show has raised nearly $100,000 to fund educational projects, according to its website.
“The craft show was founded to support the school in needs that touch and impact each student and provide resources and materials needed to help teachers and children excel,” said Ms. Devine.
She said that in the past, proceeds from the show have funded three mobile computer labs, Smartboards for classrooms, a green screen and teleprompter and many other aspects of the school’s programs.
“With the earnings from this year’s show, we hope to culminate a several-year initiative to fund the revitalization of our playground,” said Ms. Devine. “We hope to break ground later this spring.”
The show is a juried show that highlights only handmade, original crafts, artwork, food novelties and more. Each vendor must supply photographs of the work, including images of them making their craft as well as detailed descriptions of what makes their craft or technique standout. The jury process committee then reviews each application and selects a vibrant and diverse assortment to come to the show.
“Some crafters have years of experience, and for some it may be their first show, but we are proud that each crafter has her or his own unique footprint in the show,” said Ms. Devine.
The show will features the work of more than 100 artisans. The crafts represented will include furniture, floral designs, adult and children’s clothing, pottery, jewelry, woodcrafts, glass and more.
“This year, we are excited to welcome 123 crafters, some new and some long-loved, to the show,” said Ms. Devine. “Some highlights include vibrant tie-dye clothing, vintage button jewelry – each piece with its own story, gourmet nut butters, local honey, personalized Cutie Beauties, wooden crackle-wick candles (for a good cause), inspiring, beautiful artwork in various mediums, and much more.”
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and $2 for students under 17.
“The success of the Cranbury Crafts Show begins first with the support of our shoppers coming year after year, not only from Cranbury but from our surrounding communities as well,” said Ms. Devine. “Due to their continued and growing attendance, we have created quite the demand for crafters, allowing us to be selective in the talent chosen to bring their craft to the show.”
She said that also many of their volunteers also help to build a fun, lively weekend shopping trip unlike any other.
“The show is a great example of what a long-time volunteer Evelyn Spann calls ‘The Cranbury Way.’ The amount of people who volunteer to make our show a success is truly impossible to count,” said Ms. Devine. “They rise to the occasion and assist with all kinds of tasks and jobs before, during, and after the show. Volunteers can be found greeting guests at the admission table, serving delicious meals and sweets in the kitchen, and selling raffle tickets throughout the day.”
She said there are a few other things that set the show apart from others.
“Our students become actively involved in the show’s success,” she said. “They become valets while crafters are moving their treasures into the building during set up. They assist with the heavy lugging of boxes and crates from the parking area and then arrive back on Sunday afternoon to help the crafters move out following the show.”
She said another group of volunteers that help to enhance their show is the Hospitality Committee.
“Crafters are invited to a continental style breakfast on Saturday morning,” said Ms. Devine. “Those last few minutes before the show begins can be hectic, and crafters welcome a chance to grab a quick bite including a croissant and a cup of coffee.”
As part of the fundraiser, lunch will be available for purchase throughout the show at the Garden Café as well as home-baked goods at the “sweets and savories” table. Chance drawings will be held throughout the day to win baskets of items donated by the crafters. Raffle tickets cost $1 each or 7 chances for $5 or 15 chances for $10. Winners do not need to be present to win.
Ms. Devine said that students are encouraged to volunteer at the show and earn community service hours if needed.
“They provide assistance in many areas including valets, kitchen serving, raffle sales, and being “runners“ whenever we need a hand,” she said. “We have also been quite fortunate to have local Boy and Girl Scout troops who volunteer as a troop throughout the weekend.”
Local Boy Scouts and Girl Scout troops are easily recognized wearing their uniforms, and helping crafters move their goods in and out of the building, she added.
For more information, visit the show’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CranburyCraftShow.
By Amy Batista, Special Writer