WESTFIELD-With autumn in the air, organizers with Westfield on Weekends are gearing up to celebrate the fall season with its first Westfield PumpkinFest on Oct. 14.
On a recent Saturday morning, committee members gathered in Lucille Nason’s home to discuss last-minute logistics as the rain or shine event draws near.
“Westfield on Weekends (WOW) is planning a fun, family fall festival,” said Nason, adding the event promises to bring out the “inner child” of everyone attending. The WOW event is produced with additional funding by a grant from the Westfield Cultural Council, a program of the Massachusetts Cultural Commission.
The Green will be the center of attraction for the noon to 7 p.m. event, along with numerous downtown businesses, churches and local organizations also celebrating the festive season with their own special events including a farmers’ market with crafters at the Episcopal Church of the Atonement, and storytelling and activities on the lawn of the Westfield Athenaeum. Activities also planned include arts and crafts, games and prizes, face paintings, and musicians performing along the downtown sidewalks.
“One of our missions at WOW is to do more events for children,” said Bob Plasse.
Amy Tosi echoed those sentiments.
“We encourage children to wear their Halloween costumes,” said Tosi, noting that costumed characters including walking pumpkins, farmers, pilgrims and scarecrows will be happy to pose for photographs throughout the day. In addition, Giancarlo Tosi has created giant decorative displays with cutouts for faces allowing children to pose for photos in a variety of fall settings.
The signature event of the day will be a pumpkin patch at Baystate Dental on Broad Street where pallets of pumpkins will await children who will select a pumpkin to decorate and then display for all to see on the Green. Pumpkin painting will take place at the First United Methodist Church. A pumpkin lighting ceremony culminates the day’s activities at approximately 6:15 p.m.
“Our pumpkin sponsors are George’s Jewelers and the Shortstop Bar & Grill,” said Nason, adding that donations will also be accepted.
While last-minute details are still being worked out, WOW organizers said other highlights include the Westfield Fire Department conducting an open house from noon to 4 p.m., Forest Park’s “Zoo-on-the-Go” is planned on the Green, disc jockey and WSKB personality Peter Cowles will provide musical entertainment throughout the afternoon, the Whip City Witches will perform at 5 p.m., and throughout the event local vendors will be selling a variety of food items, ranging from ice cream and hot dogs to Peppermill Catering’s “harvest refreshments.”
Members of ArtWorks Westfield will also conduct book readings at the old Town Hall featuring authors Sonia Ellis, Judith (Sandy) Sessler, Susan Buffum, Kelly Buffum, and Connie Bombaci. A gallery art show is also planned by ArtWorks Westfield members titled “A Celebration of Autumn: Colors, Sights, Sounds, Words,” with works featuring renditions and interpretations of fall – including the spooky part of the season.
“I love bringing together all of these groups for families in Westfield,” said Nason.
Current sponsors include the Westfield Gas & Electric and Whip City Fiber, at the platinum level, and Easthampton Savings Bank and Westfield Bank at the gold level, and sponsorships are still available by visiting westfieldonweekends.com for more information. Raffle prize donations are also being sought with a deadline of Oct. 7.