Cranberry economic panel hopes to improve on expo, but happy with festival

The Cranberry Economic Development Committee reviewed two events held last week at the mall: the Cranberry Expo and the Cranberry Festival.

Temporary committee chair Lisa Groner said the expo, which is designed to showcase area businesses, was “moderately attended” on Thursday and was the “first time we brought the expo to the fall.” Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was held in spring. “There are a couple of things we will look at for future years.”

Part of the problem was a congested community schedule.

“This year we had a crossover with other events, like homecoming,” Groner said. “We were not timely and progressive in getting in touch with many of our businesses. It was not a good year for many of them because they did not have staff.”

The committee is looking toward the future.

“Let’s hope next year is better,” Groner said. “We will look at events and try to coordinate better. We will look at the schedule and see if we are going to do it in the fall again or bring it back in the spring. We will have to discuss that.”

There was, however, some good news in regard to the Cranberry Festival, which featured many family activities on Saturday.

“The people I spoke with were very pleased and they enjoyed it,” Groner said. “We hope to get it back to where it was before the pandemic.

“We want to thank the Cranberry Mall for their help with the festival. We had a lot of positive feedback. It was not super-well attended, but I feel we can really make it grow. We talked about some of the things we can bring back, like the touch-a-truck event. The mall is a great location.”

In past years, the event was held at Morrison Park, but that presented some problems.

“We moved it from the park because we had a lack of volunteers; we would have had to arrange bus shuttles and parking is a problem because of the grass field,” Groner said. “In 2020, it was a drive-through event and we just handed bags to the kids.

“In 2021, we brought it to the mall. It was all new to us, but I believe we have it down to a science now. We know what we need to do know. We will probably keep it at the mall. If the weather is bad, we can go back inside the mall.”

Committee member Judy Etzel said the event “wasn’t overly sophisticated, and you could do what you wanted and go home.”

The Venango Area Chamber of Commerce and the Cranberry Mall coordinated both events, which were free to attend.

“Cranberry Township is stepping up,” Etzel said. “This is something we have not done in the past.”

A car show for imported cars is scheduled Saturday at the mall. The show will feature “drifting” and “burnouts” starting at 2 p.m. and continues until dark.


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