Historic Cranberry Festival returns to Bordentown City this weekend

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One of the state’s oldest craft shows will return to Bordentown this weekend, as citizens from throughout the region will gather to attend Bordentown City’s 29th annual Cranberry Festival.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, more than 150 artists and artisans, crafters and makers offering one-of-a-kind, handmade, vintage items and upcycled treats will line Farnsworth Avenue. The city’s restaurants, shops and boutiques will also get in on the festivities.

Founded 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’s modest beginning started with 12 crafters showcased onto a single block along Walnut Street.

With Reed’s determination, the festival grew to encompass the Farnsworth Avenue business district and become one of the largest craft shows in the area. Although Reed retired from the festival in 2016, its current organizer, Leon Stanley, has since taken the reins.

“Jackie did a great job, but like anything else, the festival needs to change and grow, and evolve,” Stanley said.

Although the festival’s storied background embraces annual traditions and customs, Stanley has found ways to progress the festival and stay current for both younger and older attendees.

“One of the things we’re trying to accomplish is not just pulling in people from the immediate area, but pull people from North Jersey and the metropolitan area as well like Philadelphia, so we’re really trying to broaden our demographic,” Stanley added.

One way to attract a wider audience, Stanley said, was to offer things that appealed to a changing demographic. Last year, for example, organizers added a beer garden and live music to the festival.

“We always had an area for kids entertainment as well…we want it to be a good, quality, family-friendly event,” he said.

For more information about Cranberry Fest, visit btowncranfest.com.