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HAMMONTON - There were no April showers in sight on Thursday evening as people enjoyed a “Garden Party” throughout Downtown Hammonton.

The garden party was not the only celebration happening as the new store Vintage Betty’s Antiques and More celebrated its ribbon cutting. Vintage Betty’s, located on the corner of Bellevue Avenue and Second Street across from the Toy Market, is a marketplace that currently has 10 vendors who sell everything from vintage items to crafts to jewelry and more.

“My mom was the inspiration for the store,” said owner Constance Gilbert. “She taught us how to do and create and fix things ourselves.” Not only did Gilbert’s mother inspire the idea of the store itself, she also inspired its name. “My mom’s name is Elizabeth but we always called her Betty,” Gilbert said.

The vendors at Vintage Betty’s also want to give back to the community by donating to various causes, including homeless veterans. Vendor Alisia Ramirez of Alisia’s Creations has a special policy about her homemade wreaths.

“If you buy a wreath for someone with cancer or anything, I donate the proceeds to that cause,” she said.

Right outside of Vintage Betty’s, music could be heard coming from up and down the avenue. One of those musicians, Evan Josef Cohn, decided to bring out his unique instrument.

“It’s called a hang; it was first made in Switzerland in 2003,” Cohn said. He had been looking for one for years and finally came across one on eBay as he was traveling through Europe.

“When I do music therapy with kids, I tell them it’s a spaceship,” said Cohn, referring to the odd shape of the hang.

Despite the nice weather outside, a talk about transitioning to a plant-based diet was packed inside at Stockton University’s Kramer Hall.

Anthony Dissen, a registered dietitian and health educator, wanted people to know that transitioning to a plant-based diet did not have to be all or nothing. According to Dissen, it is more about refocusing by asking yourself: “How do I shift that scale a bit; less animal foods and more plant foods?”

No garden party would have been complete without an actual garden, which is why the members of the Hammonton Community Garden had their very own table.

“We are out for the garden party,” laughed Amy Menzel, who along with Linda Esposito were at the Community Garden table providing more information about the garden itself and their monthly Garden talks. The talks are held on the third Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. at the garden and are open to the public and free.

Third Thursday also was deemed the perfect time by members of Hammonton’s new biking club to take their first ride through town, especially since the town just installed some bike racks on Bellevue.

“This is our first event but we are trying to get people aware of the club,” said Alicia Murphy, who was the first person to suggest starting a biking club. The club does not have an official name yet but one of the names being considered is the Kickstand Crew.

Next month’s Third Thursday, to be held May 18 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., will be a “Trip Down Memory Lane” as the downtown goes retro.

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