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Cranbury Day celebrates township’s 325th year with fun, food and community

Children pet animals in petting farm at Cranbury Day in Cranbury Township on Sept. 10.

Cranbury Day draws a mix of residents and visitors to downtown Cranbury every year.

The annual tradition showcases the best of Cranbury, which was held on Sept. 10. Special this year, the township is celebrating its 325th anniversary.

“It is an opportunity to gather on Main Street to celebrate and showcase what makes this small historic town so special,” Mayor Barbara Rogers said of Cranbury Day. “Residents and visitors [get to] enjoy the entertainment and events and support the different vendors by purchasing delicious food and unique wares.”

Cranbury Township Committee members invited residents to sign a scroll with their names, which will be put in a time capsule to greet residents in 25 years [2047]. The time capsule will be stored in the new Cranbury Public Library.

Downtown Cranbury was bustling with DJ music, laughs and activities as people of all ages made their way up and down Main Street.

“This is my third Cranbury Day, and it is always a good day out that is full of energy, said Alina Livas, stylist at Cranbury’s Studio 43 Hair Design, adding she hopes people, who have never been to Cranbury, have an overall good experience when they come through and check out the businesses.

I hope people are able to check the town out and the businesses here if they have never been to Cranbury and overall have a good experience,” said Alina Livas, stylist at Cranbury’s Studio 43 Hair Design.

Bands played lived music in front of United Methodist Church of Cranbury that included Rangers Nouveau and Lenox Underground.

“Each year is just spectacular, and it is so great to be outside and meet the community,” said Roxanne Gandolfo, real estate broker with RE/MAX One, which was one of the vendors during the day.

People and children were able to view classic cars, engage with more than 84 vendors, participate in pony rides, pet adoptions, eat food grilled by the Cranbury Volunteer Fire Company Station 48, and pet goats, chickens, and even a mule in a petting farm.

“Cranbury Day is a really good gathering of people and brings not only the Cranbury community together, but other communities neighboring Cranbury. There is just a vast array of vendors here,” Cranbury resident Linda Scott said.

“Seeing the little kids from the Cranbury School with their carts walking the streets is also just great to see.”

Cranbury residents and residents from surrounding communities enjoyed snow cones, balloon twisting, face painting, making “fresh cut” French fries, making caricatures of themselves, and having their hair styled along Main Street and also Park Place West.

“We come every year here. The people and friendly community keep us coming back,” Plainsboro resident Linda Dowling said. “I have been in Plainsboro for 30 years, so as long as I knew about Cranbury Day, I’ve been coming. They are just amazing here in Cranbury.”

Union City resident Theresa Guirnalda came to Cranbury for her first Cranbury Day with her son Christian Guirnalda, a Cranbury resident, and his family.

“A lot of food, nice people and a lot to do. I hope to return again, year after year,” Theresa Guirnalda said. “It is like family here and you can’t walk down the street without knowing somebody. The day is just good vibes.”

“We moved to Cranbury for things like this and days like this. The school, community, business owners, who are also family and friends, are spending the day celebrating the reason we all live here,” Christian Guirnalda said. “We are all excited about the next 325 years for this township.”

During the day, residents and visitors were able to interact with local organizations, buy from local businesses, participate in the Cranbury Lions Club annual duck race in the Cranbury Brook, and meet and greet their local politicians.

“I have been to Cranbury Day eight of the nine years I have been on Middlesex County Board of Commissioners. This event brings the whole community together and you get to see your neighbors,” Middlesex County Commissioner Charles Kenny said. “This town is wonderful and has this small town feel about it.”

The Cranbury Business Association (CBA), led by Julianna Lako and Christine Thompson, spearheaded the planning effort for the annual event.

“We have been doing Cranbury Day for so long and it is beautiful that so many people care,” Lako said, adding with the 325th anniversary, “it is rare to have something with such longevity.”

Lako, owner of Studio 43 Hair Design in Cranbury, said so many people help out to put Cranbury Day together. It takes six months of work to pull off Cranbury Day, she said.

“It really is a community event. Cranbury to me is home and I love it here,” she said, adding “it has been a wonderful day.”

Pattie DeCristofaro of Studio 43 Hair Design, said Cranbury is a “great and positive” place for families.

“Cranbury Day is so welcoming for people who do not get to live here. I’m always amazed at how many people this day brings to the town.”

Earlier in the day, the Helene Cody Foundation held the annual Helene Cody Cranbury 5k & One Mile Fun Run in Heritage Park.

The race occurs each year in honor of Helene Cody, who passed away from a brain aneurysm on her 16th birthday in 2008, according to the Helene Cody Foundation. The funds raised from the event fund service projects and scholarships for the foundation.

Township officials will continue to celebrate the township’s 235 years. Next up, the upcoming Arts in the Park event on Sept. 18.

Classic cars on Main Street in Cranbury during Cranbury Day on Sept. 10.
Children create fresh fries at Cranbury Day 2022.
Balloons being twisted into figures for children at 2022 Cranbury Day.
Cranbury Day 2022 on Sept. 10 in Cranbury Township.
Garden Art pieces on display in Cranbury.
Cranbury Volunteer Fire Company grills for Cranbury Day attendees on Sept. 10.
Children hit heavy bag on Main Street.
Committeeman Matt Scott (left) and Mayor Barbara Rogers (right) behind scroll with residents signatures for time capsule.
Committeewoman Evelyn Spann (left), Committeeman Matt Scott (center), NJ Senator Linda Greenstein (center), and Mayor Barbara Rogers (right) together on Cranbury Day to meet with residents.
Stuff animals and other toys at table on Main Street for attendees.
Vendors lined up on North Main Street in downtown Cranbury on Sept. 10.
Puppies and dogs showcased for adoption at Cranbury Day 2022.
Lenox Underground performs in front of United Methodist Church of Cranbury.
Pony rides occurred on Park Place West in Cranbury.
Rubber ducks float in the Cranbury Brook following the Cranbury Lions Club annual duck race during Cranbury Day.
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