CRANFORD, NJ — The Cranford Woman’s Club hosted its 10th annual Sip and Shop event on Friday, May 12. Attendees of the event were awarded a tote bag filled with drink tickets and special coupons for discounts at surrounding stores that were participating in the event.
“I think this is one of the premier events of the town,” Marie Mayor, a longtime attendant of the event, told LocalSource. “It brings everyone together and is a great women’s event that supports Downtown Cranford.”
Many stores and owners affiliated with Downtown Cranford offered to support the event through sponsorships, donations of goods and services, or through special discounts.
“Martin Jewelers is sponsoring this event. There are many stores involved that offer discounts and other rewards for those involved in this event,” Mayor said. “Many stores donated gift baskets and other prizes that can be won.”
The money that was raised at the event goes toward education funds for high school students, via scholarships.
“A majority of the money that is raised at this event goes to scholarship funds for high school seniors,” Chris Shivers, the organizer for the Sip and Shop event, told LocalSource. “The Cranford Woman’s Club is a volunteer organization that was founded in 1949. With a tradition in giving back to the community and its residents, the goal of the organization is enhancing the quality of life in the community. Membership in the Cranford Woman’s Club is open to all women over the age of 18 living in the area. Each year, the club hosts events such as the ‘Home for the Holidays House Tour’ and ‘Breakfast with the Bunny.’
“We have been doing this event for 10 years,” Shivers said. “One of our club members had the idea for it. Our first event started with 40 people and we have grown to now over 300 people attending this event each year.”
This event has expanded to become an important event for both the town and for women in Cranford to be honored and celebrated prior to Mother’s Day.
“It is one of the biggest nights of the year for businesses in the town and a great time for women in Cranford to get together and have fun before Mother’s day,” Shivers said.
This event has been held every year since it began, even through the pandemic with safety protocols and social distancing.
“We did miss holding this event in May due to COVID-19, but we were able to host it in October, due to this being an outdoor event where we could social distance and follow state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines,” Shivers said. “We were a little delayed, but we were still able to hold this event for residents and to support local businesses and students and we have not missed a year yet.”
The businesses and the Cranford Woman’s Club have an ongoing relationship, with local shop owners donating goods and services to the event to support traction and gain customers.
“All of the businesses in town donate a basket toward this event as a way of support.” Carolyn Capone-Pugliese, Cranford Woman’s Club board member at large, told LocalSource. “Whether it is free dinner, tickets or other prizes, we received 42 baskets for this event.”
The Cranford Woman’s Club said it is dedicated to its goal of enhancing the quality of life in the community, for both residents and the business owners.
“The success of this event is important to us through the money that we raise going toward scholarships, but also to bring business to Cranford,” Shivers said. “We want to keep our downtown thriving, so we believe that it is important to keep everyone engaged as much as we can.”
Photos by Javon Ross