WESTFIELD RE-IMAGINES PUMPKINFEST 2020 FOR COVID TIMES
Not wishing to disappoint the fans of one of the area’s most popular events, Westfield on Weekends (WOW) has announced the schedule of activities for the fourth annual PumpkinFest celebration that has been re-imagined for life during COVID.
“We are pleased to present a safe and responsible twist on the classic PumpkinFest,” Bob Plasse, WOW Co-President explained. “While we have had to cancel this year’s in-person festival, we have gone outside of the box and planned a calendar of exciting events that can be enjoyed by families on their own during a two-week period, beginning on Saturday, October 16.”
Major funding for the events of PumpkinFest has been provided by its major sponsors: Westfield Bank; Westfield G & E and Whip City Fiber; Baystate Health; ESBank (Easthampton Savings Bank); Reminder Publications and the Westfield News and the City of Westfield. Funding has also been provided with grants from the Westfield Cultural Council, a program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, New England Custom Countertops, Wilsonart International, and Shurtleff Children’s Services, Inc.
PumpkinFest is produced by WOW’s PumpkinFest committee that is led by Co-chairs Jason Polan and Bob Plasse. WOW board members Lisa Sunderland Burns; James Johnson- Corwin; Gerry Tomasko; and Barbara Trant are joined by community members Meaghan Coffey; Gary Midura; Hope Tremblay; Heidi Whelan and Heather Witalisz Siegel to round out the committee.
PumpkinFest Community partners include the Greater Westfield Boys and Girls Club; Amelia Park Ice Arena; Betts Plumbing & Heating Supply Company, Inc.: L & R Sales, Inc.; Tru Blu Grafix Print and Web Design; and Witalisz Associates Real Estate.
THE SCARECROW TRAIL
PumpkinFest will feature an expanded version of last year’s Scarecrow Trail, a self-guided drive-by tour of local houses and businesses, where colorful scarecrows will displayed for all to see. As part of the tour, Amelia Park Ice Arena will also present a Haunted Garden in Amelia’s Garden at the complex on South Broad Street.
Folks can participate as scarecrow makers as well tour participants. They may make their own scarecrows using materials from their homes or purchase $20 scarecrow kits from WOW that include PVC piping pieces and joints to create a life-size scarecrow. Pre-made scarecrows are also available for $50. Scarecrow kits may be purchased at Amelia Park Ice Arena on South Broad Street, while supplies last and folks may register to be listed there as part of the trail.
A full list of the locations of more than 50 scarecrows and their owners is available at WOW’s . Families, who follow the trail will be able to vote for their favorite straw persons at @WitaliszAssociates on Facebook with special prizes awarded to the winners.
“Folks will have plenty of time to tour as many neighborhoods as they wish,” Plasse said. “It’s a veritable moving celebration of the season.
DRIVE-BY HAUNTED HOUSES
Recognizing the many residents of Westfield that decorate the outside of their homes for Halloween, WOW will also present its first drive-by tour of Haunted Houses from October 16 thru 31. More than twenty-five residences that are scheduled to participate with spooky decorations are listed as of today at westfieldonweekends.com.
Like the Scarecrow Trail of PumpkinFest, Westfield residents may join the list of more than 40 haunted houses already on the map on WOW’s website for the chance to be voted a fan favorite and perhaps win a special prize. WOW is asking folks to register by submitting their address on WOW’s Facebook or calling WOW at 579-5967.
DRIVE-IN MOVIE NIGHT
In association with the Greater Westfield Boys and Girls Club, WOW will present a free showing of the Halloween classic, Hocus Pocus on Saturday, October 17 at 7 pm, preceded by a program of kids music, provided by a JP’s Sound and Lights at 6 pm.
The family friendly Disney film starring Bette Midler will be projected onto a huge screen to be erected at the Middle School Athletic Field, located at the Boys and Girls Club with an entrance on Broad Street.
Attendance is free with donations suggested, but reservations are required. They may be made by calling 562-2301 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All donations made on Movie Night will be shared by The Boys and Girls Club and WOW.
Cars will be allowed onto the grounds at 5:30 PM with limited spaces available to allow safe distancing. Masks must be worn should moviegoers wish to purchase a treat or visit the porta-potties.
As a prelude to the opening of the Scarecrow Trail, WOW’s Creative Arts Center (CAC) will be holding a series of five scarecrow-making workshops that have been designed for families, following the Massachusetts COVID guidelines.
Three workshops on two consecutive Saturdays, September 26 and October 3 will be conducted at CAC at 105 Elm Street at 9:30am, 12:30pm and 2:00pm, with an evening workshop to be held on Friday, October 2 at 6:30pm.
Six safe-distanced, sanitized scarecrow-making spaces with a maximum of four persons per space, given state mandates will be provided with masks required.
The workshops will be led by expert crafter, Jennipher McCabe, whose artistic classes have been enjoyed by many students at CAC and at other area venues.
The fee for each workshop is $35 per scarecrow, including step-by-step instructions, a life-sized scarecrow frame made of PVC, head and face materials and stuffing supplies. Participants may bring their own creative wardrobe for their scarecrows or choose from the Scarecrow Closet of old clothes and costumes. Proceeds will benefit Westfield on Weekends programming.
Reservations may be made by calling 413-579-5967 or messaging CAC at email@example.com.
PUMPKINFEST COLORING ACTIVITIES
WOW is also offering families the chance to color a variety of PumpkinFest drawings that can be displayed in their homes, when completed.
Families may choose between three designs created for PumpkinFest by artist Shannon Chiba, whose work can be seen in the recently completed “Heroes are Everywhere” mural by Artworks of Westfield at the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail tunnel between Hedges and Taylor Avenues in Westfield.
Chiba’s coloring art may be downloaded from the Westfield on Weekends website or clipped from the pages of the Westfield News and the Reminder.