Cranbury Day tradition holds: No rain helps ensure a big turnout (With multiple photos)

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John Ryan

By Mike Morsch, Executive Editor
The tradition holds: It never rains on Cranbury Day.
That’s what happened for yet another year as Cranbury celebrated it’s annual community day Sept. 10 on Main Street.
“Despite the extremely hot weather, we had a really fantastic turnout. We had great support from the business community and all the vendors and all the residents from Cranbury and the surrounding towns,” said Mayor Dan Mulligan.
Christine Thompson, co-owner of Cranbury Limousine Service and chairwoman of the event, said prior to the festivities that it’s sometimes difficult to estimate just how many folks come to Cranbury to celebrate the day. Usually, she said, the guesstimate is based on how many hotdogs and hamburgers the Lions Club sells at its booth.
But this year, Cranbury Chief of Police Rickey Varga said it was the biggest crowd that he had seen at Cranbury Day and estimated that between 1,500 and 1,800 people visited town throughout the day.
Once again, the Lions Club Rubber Duck Race and the helicopter rides proved to be among the popular attractions.
“We did have the helicopter rides again this year. They seemed to be a big hit. I heard the helicopter going back and forth all day,” said Mayor Mulligan.
Approximately 80 vendors participated this year, including local merchants, associations and organizations, many of which used the event as fundraisers.
Among those was the Cranbury Public Library, which hoped to raise money for and awareness about the new library project and community center. Included at the library booth was a banner picturing the new library that was covered with 224 post-it notes. For a $5 donation a post-it note could be removed to reveal the library underneath.
“Thanks to a generous community, at the end of the day we had completely uncovered the picture and raised $1,700,” said library Director Marilynn Mullen.
Foundation and library board members had a chance to tell visitors that the library would be going before the township Planning Board on Sept. 15 for review of the site and design. Once approved, the project will be shovel ready.
“Before we can break ground we need to ‘Close the Gap,’ ” Foundation President Mike Ferrante said. “The foundation has $2.2 million raised and needs $2.7 before we can begin construction. Our energy will be focused on raising the remaining funds this fall.”
One library supporter attending Cranbury Day noted, “If every family in Cranbury donated $1,000 today we could break ground this year.”
Those contributing $1,000 or more will be honored in the new library’s Walk of Knowledge.
But as it’s always been, Cranbury Day this year once again was about community.
“People come back from summer vacation. A lot of them have been out of town for the summer at beach houses and traveling the country,” said Mayor Mulligan. “Everyone is back in town and ready for business. It’s great to see everybody come back together. It kicks off the school year, it kicks off a new season for Cranbury.
“We couldn’t ask for more, really,” he said. 