Organizers have been hard at work for Cranbury’s annual Craft Show, which returns to the Cranbury School for a 24th year.
The craft show is back in person after cancellation in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The show was able to occur in 2020 right before the lockdowns occurred when COVID-19 cases began to surge across the country.
2022’s event will take place on March 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and March 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cranbury School, located on 23 N. Main St. Admission into the show is $5 and is free for children under the age of 13.
The event will be requiring masks for attendees, crafters and vendors, and volunteers.
“The number of crafters that have come out of the woodwork due to the pandemic has been unprecedented,” said Jennifer Suttmeier, organizer of the Craft Show. “This show is a unique opportunity for a pandemic crafter to come too. There is something for everyone at this show whether you are a crafter, shopper or looking for something fun to do.”
More than 100 crafters and vendors are participating in 2022. They were selected out of close to 300 that had applied for the show.
“It is a little lower than our usual number just because we did change our footprint a tiny bit to increase the size of the aisles to give everyone a little bit more space and create some masked breathing room for all our attendees and crafters,” said Raegan Johnston, chair of the Craft Show. “We have a really amazing group this year. We are excited about our returning crafters and new crafters that we have invited.”
Main location spaces for the Cranbury Craft Show are the cafeteria, the new gymnasium, and the auditorium.
The planning for the show started in September and will include crafters and vendors for jewelry, signage, art, pets, photography, pottery, candles, clothing and food.
“I definitely think a lot of people have taken things that were their hobbies during the pandemic and have sort of tried to make it a real business,” Johnston said. “We have returning crafters that have been participating for 20 years, but it is so interesting to see all of these new faces and see all the new applications.”
Johnston said she is partial to the food vendors.
“I’m really excited to see everybody and I’m always surprised by our crafters in seeing what their booths look like and products are like in person,” she added.
There are a few crafters who have impressed Suttmeier.
“There is one woman who comes every year, Lucille Norella. She grows her own flowers and then dries them and presses them, turning them into works of art. It is so wonderful and unique,” she said. “We have a new person this year who creates work off of sea glass. They literally find sea glass on the beach and create these amazing pieces of art with sea glass.”
The Cranbury Craft Show is a key fundraiser for the Cranbury Education Foundation (CEF) and has been for 20 years. In 2020, the show was able to raise $20,000.
With the money raised in 2020, the CEF partnered with Cranbury Township Board of Education to purchase laptops for every Cranbury student, according to Craft Show organizers.
“We had the referendum pass for the school in December and so there are a lot of things the school will be needing that will not be covered,” said Louise Carroll, co-president of the CEF. “The money raise from the Craft Show will be going to areas for the special enrichment programs for the students that cannot necessarily be covered by a district budget the state approves.”
Through the years, the CEF has purchased 3D printers, Bee-Bot STEM robots, and playground equipment for the students.
“The items that we have bought are more STEM-related and tangible things. We focus on the science and the performing arts has been a big area where we have bought items,” Carroll said. “We also bought about $185,000 of playground equipment and have done capital improvements.”
There is not a specific fundraising goal for the 2022 Craft Show.
“We are really more focused on having a good event and making sure everyone feels comfortable. Making sure this is one of things our community can point to as a turning point in being able to have the event safely,” Johnston said.
According to organizers, the Cranbury Lions Club will be selling raffle tickets on both days of the Craft Show. Each day at 3 p.m. a winning ticket will be drawn for a $400 gift card.
For more information about the Cranbury Craft Show, visit www.cranburyeducationfoundation.org and Cranbury Craft Show Facebook page.