Collingswood, New Jersey

Collingswood bombed, second guerrilla knit invites public to partake

Yarn artists in Collingswood mobilize for second year to decorate quaint borough with fuzzy creations

Again, the knitters (and crocheters) of Collingswood have secretly come together to “bomb” the town. For the second year, Collingswood awoke to a colorful art installation decorating Collingswood’s historic main street, Haddon Avenue.

For 2015, artists were tasked to decorate fences and benches along Collingswood’s main drag. Working over the past few months, participants covertly selected their targets and were given carte blanche to design fiber art pieces.

“Last year, we worked within a color palette and gave knitters measurements for select trees,” said Collingswood Director of Community Development Cass Duffey. “After seeing what the artists could do we really wanted to give them more creative license. The fences and benches lend themselves to be more interesting canvasses for the artists. They were allowed to fill or cover their spaces as they please, to really let their creativity fly.”

The team of roughly twenty artists has been working for months to plan and execute coverings. On the rainy evening of March 10, the group gathered to “bomb” Collingswood, or covertly attach their creations so their installation would be a surprise the next morning.

"I love being a part of something that's only mission is to beautify our environment,” said artist and resident Sara McLaughlin who also participated in the 2014 project. “After a long winter, it's fun to see color and creativity line Haddon Ave. It's a great, non-invasive way to bring art to the town and maybe even get people interested in learning how to crochet or knit."

Last year, the installation put surprise “tree sweaters” on trees, poles and other items in the town. Feedback on the project -from enthusiasm to bewilderment- was immediate and overwhelming.

“It’s definitely something that got attention,” said Collingswood Mayor James Maley, “Art should make people react and we were hearing people’s impressions on the first installation for a year afterward. Most importantly, it is fundamentally a community project. These artists aren’t paid. They give their time to this project to beautify town and showcase their handiwork. It’s great.”

Yarnbombing, also called yarnstorming, has become common in urban areas, decorating everything from lampposts to entire vehicles. Dozens of organizations dedicated to the craft and execution of bombings exist around the county. In 2012, the city of Pittsburgh organized local knitters to decorate the Andy Warhol/7th Street Bridge. Collingswood’s artists are residents, knitting enthusiasts and local groups that designed and installed the large-scale, fiber arts installation.

This year’s installation also includes public participation. Building on a trend that went viral this winter, the Borough is asking those that want to contribute to donate a scarf to “scarf tree” locations in town. The donations will be given to local shelters and organizations. The initiative also gives knitters that are not a formal part of the installation a chance to participate.

“After the first bomb we heard a lot of locals say they would have loved to participate and now they can,” said Duffey “It’s sort of a month-long, outdoor scarf drive that also lets people add their touch to the bomb. We’d love to see the fences filled with all sorts of colors. The more people give, the prettier it will look and the more people we can help. We hope people pile them on and give back.”

Those that want to donate a scarf can wrap one around the iron fence next to Borough Hall (678 Haddon Ave, in front of the Borough Christmas tree) and another location to be determined. Scarves and donations do not have to be handmade.

“This project makes me so happy because it shows off the talents of our town's citizens. Having everyone see our pieces makes us feel special, like we are artists & it's so gratifying to share our work with the whole town,” said artist Shannon McGill.

The exhibit coincides with Collingswood’s monthly 2nd Saturday event on March 14 and will remain in Collingswood’s downtown until April. The Borough asks that guests please be respectful of the artists and their work by not damaging or altering the fiber art.

About Collingswood:
Collingswood is a historic NJ town 10 minutes outside Philadelphia. Known for its eclectic downtown and BYO restaurant scene it has taken home national recognition including being named a Top 10 Transformed Neighborhood by Forbes, the Best Place to Go Car Free by Men’s Journal magazine, a Classic Town of Greater Philadelphia by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, a Great Place in America (Haddon Avenue) by the American Planning Association and is home to the Collingswood Farmers’ Market, voted best in America by the American Farmland Trust.


CHS presents SHREK The Musical

Shrek The Musical, based on the Oscar®-winning DreamWorks film that started it all, brings the hilarious story of everyone’s favorite ogre to life on stage. In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre not a handsome prince – shows up to rescue a feisty princess. Throw in a donkey who won’t shut up, a villain with a SHORT temper, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there’s one on hand… and his name is Shrek.

 Shrek The Musical is part romance, part twisted fairy tale and all irreverent fun for everyone!

Collingswood High School All-School Musical.

Performances March 19, 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 7:30pm with a matinee on Saturday, March 28 at 2pm 

Collingswood Middle School Auditorium, 414 Collings Avenue, Collingswood, NJ  08108

For more info 

Anniversary events at the historic Collings-Knight House

From the Friends of Collings-Knight House

2015 promises to be an exciting year at the Collings- Knight House. The house will benefit from two grants and mark 190 years at the corner of Collings and Browning Roads. Additionally, the historic property has received a grant from the Camden County Open Space Preservation Trust Fund to rebuild the back porch. This is a much-needed and long-anticipated project that will vastly improve the appearance of the house and alleviate interior problems caused by the porch’s deterioration. The second project is spearheaded by the Cooper’s Creek Questers who have won a grant to repair the attic bedstead. This beautiful piece of furniture lost its top at some point. The Questers grant will repair the top of the bed, while plans continue for obtaining curtaining and bedding. The goal is to restore this impressive piece to its former glory.

2015 marks the 190th year since construction of the Collings-Knight house began in 1825. This calls for 18 months of special programs leading up to the 190th anniversary of its completion in 2017. Join us for a series of exciting programs from every decade in the life of the house, beginning in the fall. Until the anniversary programs begin, plan to visit for one of our exciting spring 2015 programs:

March 14, 2-4 pm:
  A Visit with Lizzie Borden. Was she innocent, or guilty of a heinous crime? Join Kate Butler in considering the evidence with 19th century eyes, and decide for yourself.

April 11, 2-4 pm: Psychics, Spirituality & the Victorians. Did you know that Mrs. Lincoln’s personal psychic hailed from Delran? Jeannie Francis will reveal the fascination Victorians had for everything “beyond the grave.”

May 17, 1-4 pm:
Show us your Sensemans!  For this event, we need your help: we would like to exhibit works by Rafael Senseman, the local artist whose Depression-era pictures captured the area’s quiet beauty. We invite Senseman owners to bring their treasured art works to the Colllings-Knight House for an Open House Exhibit. Local owner Jim Perrin will begin the afternoon with a brief biopic, and owners will be on hand to share their own Senseman stories. Art owners who would like to participate may phone Sue at 856-240-7098 to make arrangements.

In March the Friends of Collings-Knight House will kick off  their Annual Membership Campaign. Please join the Friends in their efforts to restore this important local historic site and provide interesting, entertaining history programs for area residents. An individual membership is $15, and family is $25. Support at any level is appreciated and goes entirely to support restoration and programming at the house. Make donations payable to Friends of Collings-Knight House and mail to PO Box 357, Collingswood, NJ 08108.

Thank you for your support; we look forward to your visits this year. Come by and enjoy a piece of history in your backyard!

Nominate a great volunteer!

Collingswood seeks outstanding volunteer nominations for National Volunteer Month in April

Do you know someone who gives their heart and soul to Collingswood to make it a better place? April is National Volunteer month and Collingswood, a community built on strong volunteer spirit, is hoping  to celebrate those that give back.

The Borough is holding a short essay contest to find the town’s most giving volunteers. People that would like to nominate a friend or neighbor can write a short essay (150 words or less) describing a Collingswood volunteer who has contributed to the community and how. 

Nominees should fit the theme: A Collingswood resident that has given outstandingly to Collingswood-specific efforts, projects or organizations. A winner will be selected in March and both the essayist and nominee will be honored at the April 6 Commission Meeting. Both will receive $50 Collingswood Cash and the nominee will get a proclamation celebrating their dedication to town. The winning essay will be published in the Town Crier as well.

“There are so many people that give their time and talent to make Collingswood the amazing place it is,” said Collingswood Mayor James Maley. “I suspect we’ll have a lot of nominees and that’s part of what makes our town wonderful. They’ll be very touching to read.”

According to, National Volunteer Week began in 1974 when President Richard Nixon signed an executive order establishing the week as an annual celebration of volunteering. Every president since has signed a proclamation promoting National Volunteer Week. Additionally, governors, mayors and other elected officials make public statements and sign proclamations in support of the event.

Last year the Borough honored winner Linda Skowronek for involvement in a broad range of Collingswood events and  organizations as well as her dedication to Collingswood schools.

Send essays to:
Volunteer Month Essay Contest
c/o Cass Duffey, 678 Haddon Ave, Collingswood, NJ 08108

Essays can also be emailed to with the subject line “Volunteer Month Essay Contest SUBMISSION.” Essays must be received by March 25 and be no longer than 150 words.

Collingswood 2015 budget focuses on capital improvements

Collingswood’s 2015 budget, introduced at the March 2 Commission meeting, includes appropriations that largely support funding capital projects. The increase is $67 on the average assessed home of $230,000.

“We’re focused on executing capital projects that will enhance the community,” said Collingswood Mayor James Maley. “A big part of the budget is tax dollars going to basics like infrastructure, park improvements, equipment and upgrades – tangible expenditures that residents will really be able to see firsthand and appreciate.” 

Infrastructure highlights include pedestrian safety improvements with traffic calming bumpouts in several locations, a new parking kiosk, the installation of a new bathroom in Knight Park, the replacement of a water well house, inlet repairs, a new water utility truck, sewer department vehicle and a new pickup truck with snow plow.

Notably, inclusive of down payment on a bond ordinance, significant upgrades to the Roberts Pool facility are planned for 2015 and 2016. These include necessary repairs to pipes underneath the baby pool and replacing the gutters at the main pool. These improvements will help maintain good water quality and significantly reduce severe water loss issues. The bond ordinance will finance a new snack stand complete with new bathrooms for patrons of the pool as well.

“Roberts Pool is one of our most loved assets,” said Commissioner Joan Leonard. “It’s used by so many – athletes, seniors, families – and we’ve heard feedback from residents for some time about what they’d like to see at the pool. These improvements will also save money that we’re losing now through old infrastructure and water loss.”

In 2014 the Fire Department was awarded a federal SAFER grant to employ two new firefighters. Since that grant has expired, the 2015 budget will absorb the salary of these firefighters, maintaining staffing in the fire department. 

“It’s just as important that our budget supports our employees,” said Commissioner Mike Hall. “Our departments need appropriate staffs to make sure everything like infrastructure projects and public safety runs smoothly in Collingswood. If we let that slip, we can’t be as responsive as we need to be for residents.”

For the fourth year in a row the Borough’s debt, after being flat for nearly 10 years, continues to decline in 2015. The restructuring of the Borough’s debt has resulted in savings of lowered interest costs and a 20 percent reduction of the Borough’s debt since 2012.

Pet licensing deadline: MARCH 31, 2015

REMINDER: Pet licenses renewed after March 31, 2015 will be charged a $10 late fee per household.
Dog and cat owners must license their pets. Dog and Cat license applications)  can be found at the bottom of the Clerk’s page here:

Annual Egg Hunt CANCELED


Collingswood Rotary will host this year’s Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 28 beginning at 10 a.m.  The hunt will take place at the gazebo in Knight Park. There will be candy and goodies for boys and girls ages eight and under. Bring your camera for pictures with the Easter Bunny! No pre-registration is required. For more information, contact Rotary President Michael Trainor at 609-313-4910 or

March 19 - Freeholder meeting

The Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders will hold their monthly meeting in Collingswood on March 19 at 7pm at the Collingswood Community Center (30 W. Collings Ave). The public is welcome to attend. A meeting agenda can be viewed here.


Collingwood Foundation for the Arts hosts Finnegan’s Wake

An interactive dinner comedy to DIE for!

Finnegan’s Wake, the hilarious interactive dinner comedy, is coming to Collingswood!  After playing to sold out audiences in Atlantic City, Finnegan’s Wake will now be playing at the Collingswood Grand Ballroom on March 20.The proceeds from this performance will support the Collingswood Foundation for the Arts.

The classic Irish ballad “Finnegan’s Wake” is transformed into the Irish version of “one of those Italian Weddings,” only in place of the nuptials, there’s a funeral. It’s an interactive dinner theater so the audience is part of the act!

Audiences will have the opportunity to pay their respects to poor Sean Patrick Finnegan, give a eulogy, or tell their favorite Irish joke. There’s no telling what may happen when Sean’s crazy family and his outrageous friends come together at his funeral. The event includes original music by the Barley Boys (led by Mike Babick) as well as an Irish buffet and full bar.

Tickets can be purchased by calling The Collingswood Grand Ballroom and Scottish Rite Theater at 856-858-1000 x210. Tickets are $40 and include a buffet dinner, two complimentary drinks (beer or wine) and admission to The Wake with music by The Barley Boys. Parking is plentiful and free at the Scottish Rite.

You’ll laugh (until you cry) at Finnegan’s Wake, a production assured to lift your spirits – and rest assured there will be plenty of spirits to go around. After all, this gathering is a celebration of life, not death!

Details for Finnegan’s Wake:
Friday, March 20, 2015 at 7pm; doors open at 6:30pm
Collingswood Grand Ballroom, 315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood 08107
Tickets $40 per person; include buffet and two complimentary drinks (beer or wine)
Tickets are limited; call 856-858-1000 x210
Mixed drinks & Irish beer available
Proceeds benefit Collingswood Foundation for the Arts 

FEMA to host flood risk open house at Camden County Boathouse March 25

Collingswood maps updated, homeowners encouraged to learn about flood risk

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region II office has released updates to the flood hazard maps, known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The FIRMs identify areas that have the greatest flood risk and are used by insurance companies to determine flood insurance rates, and lenders to determine flood insurance requirements.

Camden County municipalities impacted by the new maps are:  Audubon Park, Audubon, Bellmawr, Brooklawn, Camden City, Collingswood, Gloucester City, Gloucester Township, Haddon Township, Mount Ephraim, Oaklyn, Pennsauken, Runnemede and Woodlynne.

Residents and property owners in these towns are encouraged to learn more about their flood risk and the updates shown on the preliminary flood hazard maps by looking up their property’s address in the “What’s my BFE” tool at 

To provide more information to homeowners, FEMA will hold a public Flood Risk Open House at the Camden County Boathouse, 7050 North Park Drive in Pennsauken on March 25. No presentation will be made, so residents may attend the Open House any time between the hours of 4 and 8 pm. No appointment is required.

Using interactive flood hazard maps at this Open House, representatives from the State, County, and FEMA and their mapping partners, will be available to answer flood risk and insurance questions, and explain the preliminary flood hazard maps. Residents are encouraged to bring their elevation certificates and/or flood insurance policies to the event in order to get the best information about how their flood insurance may change as a result of the new preliminary maps.

Please plan to attend this event if your property is currently mapped within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), newly mapped into an SFHA, and/or if you currently have flood insurance. If you are unsure of your flood risk, please refer to the Preliminary FIRMs which are available on the FEMA Map Service Center website,, or call the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) at 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627) or your local flood plain administrator or municipal building official.

Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States. It is vital for property owners to understand their risk and taking advantage of tools and programs available to them. Property owners can take action by purchasing flood insurance and implementing mitigation actions to help reduce future flooding impacts.

The preliminary flood hazard maps that will be shared at the Open House are an update of the existing FIRMs. These preliminary FIRMs and the associated Flood Insurance Study (FIS) provide the basis for flood risk education and floodplain management measures. Camden County is required to adopt updated maps to continue participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes flood insurance available to the community.

For additional information on flood hazard risk and the mapping process, please visit

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