WESTFIELD, NJ — About 150 event-goers gathered at Westfield’s James Ward Mansion during the venue’s Mix & Mingle event Thursday evening.  According to the mansion’s publicist, Sarann Wood, the second-story event space has been trying to find innovative and creative ways to drive awareness of the space’s capabilities.

“We really wanted to showcase the mansion and to do that, it needed to be in full party mode,” Wood said. The idea was to drive awareness of the space along with the local vendors in the hopes that more people will consider the mansion for events like bar and bat mitzvahs, sweet sixteens and other festive celebrations.  

James and John Ward reached out to local event planner Jessica Silverstein to help organize the event, which featured more than 25 local vendors; some were present at the event while others contributed to the preparation of the vendor experience.

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“Jessica did an amazing job reaching out to vendors and getting them on board to support the event,” Wood said.

“I wanted to bring local people into this space and to showcase the venue,” said Silverstein, who planned the event so that guests could experience the mansion as a fully operating event space. The party included a DJ, a photobooth and vendor stations and displays.

According to Silverstein, all of the vendors were New Jersey-based, with the majority of vendors located right in Westfield.

“Working with the Wards and with Sarann Wood to plan this event has been a highlight of living locally,” she said.

Vendors were featured throughout the event space, which allowed for party-goers to learn more about their unique offerings while drawing guests in to all of the event space offered at the mansion — including a gourmet kitchen and a third story complete with private rooms.  

Vendors were pleased with the turnout and optimistic about the opportunity to showcase their trades to the public.

“There are so many new faces and people are really excited about the space,” said Sheri Finver, owner of S. Finver Design, which specializes in creative graphic designs. Finver designed the logo for the Mix & Mingle event.

“It’s been a great business opportunity,” said Pam Rediker who works for PAR Productions and specializes in creative promotions and corporate gifts. “We have received lots of leads.”

Tickets were $10 for pre-registered guests and $15 at the door with 100 percent of proceeds going to SCOPE (Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education), a program dedicated to providing children from underserved communities with scholarships to a two-week overnight camp. The event generated $2,000 — enough money to send two children to camp, according to Silverstein.

“The turnout has been wonderful and it’s been a great opportunity to raise awareness to a community of people who understand camp’s impact,” said SCOPE Executive Director Molly Gallagher. “It’s been great for people to hang out with peers from their community while giving back in a meaningful way.”

To learn more about events at the James Ward Mansion, visit their newly launched website at https://www.jameswardmansion.com. If you are interested in making a contribution to SCOPE, visit their website at www.scopeusa.org.