Haddonfield continues Valentine's Day tradition; diners say this year sweeter than last

This year, 36 couples signed up to renew their vows, including Nora and Francis McClarren who have been married for 57 years.
HADDONFIELD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Diners, restaurant owners and those just in love say this Valentine's Day in Haddonfield, Camden County felt sweeter than last year.

Tieteina Stewart celebrated her birthday and the holiday of love with her mom at William Heritage Winery and Tasting Room.

"Last year, I was scared to go out really. This year I feel a little more comfortable," said Stewart of Willingboro. "We have the vaccination, the boosters, so this year I'm ready to go out. It's time to go out."

Bob Goodman, an employee of William Heritage Winery, said the winery's dining room was busier than last year.

"Without a doubt, people are extremely excited to be out. We were somewhat limited last year because of the pandemic and social distancing," said Goodman.

Owners of The Bistro at Haddonfield said they think last year was a bit busier. They think the cold snap affected business and say there's still some confusion over what is and is not allowed.

"We got a lot of phone calls, a lot of people are very confused honestly," Anna Riginos of Bistro at Haddonfield said. "Not everybody knows if you're open, if we have heaters, if you have to wear a mask."

For retail businesses like Mecha Chocolate which opened right before the pandemic, this year they finally had a better gauge on how much chocolate to prepare.

After losing big holidays like Mother's Day and Easter in 2020, owner Melissa Crandley said they were caught off guard in 2021.
"This year, I'm more prepared because I had Valentine's Day last year to balance the numbers, so it made it easier. We are increasing from last year, I think because more people are coming out," said Crandley.

Haddonfield officials kept up an annual tradition of renewing the vows of couples in front of the heart art piece located downtown.

This year, 36 couples signed up to renew their vows, including Nora and Francis McClarren of Bensalem who have been married for 57 years.

Dominic and Arlene Vesper of Audobon, New Jersey are right behind, having been married for 52 years.

They say it's still important to celebrate Valentine's Day.

"A hundred percent," Nora said.

"I've been giving her something since she was 16," Francis said. "So why stop now?"

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