Every October families gather on the Town Green to carve jack-o-lanterns, munch on candy apples, and enjoy the fall festivities among the falling leaves. The annual Pumpkin Festival is a Halloween-themed event organized by WHS students and staff to benefit Camp Sunshine. In its 13th year running, the Pumpkin Festival will place on the Town Green on Saturday, October 13 from 12-4 p.m.
The event is planned by English teacher and Pumpkin Festival faculty advisor Erin McCarty and three event co-chairs: senior Kelcie Levin, senior Whitney Sins, and senior Avery Tomaso. In her first year running this event, McCarty stated that she hopes her experience running other student activities will be a positive influence.
“Having been the faculty advisor for Student Council for many years and running Spring Fling has made it easy for me to step into the role,” she said.
All proceeds from the Pumpkin Festival, or Pumpkin Fest for short, will support Camp Sunshine, a retreat for families with children battling life-threatening illnesses. McCarty also sees her leadership of the event as a way to stay connected to Camp Sunshine.
“I’ve had friends volunteer with Camp Sunshine throughout my years growing up and I thought the organization was great, so for me being involved was not only a way to stay connected to the kids but to the charity itself,” McCarty said.
For Levin, her continued participation in Pumpkin Fest inspired her to join the planning committee.
“I wanted to take part in [the] Pumpkin Festival because it is something I have been doing since my freshman year, and I think that it is an amazing event and cause,” she said.
Similarly, Tomaso’s motivation for joining the Pumpkin Fest planning committee stemmed from her previous participation in the event.
“I personally stepped on to the planning committee because I have been going to Pumpkin Fest since I was young,” Tomaso said. “Given how many hours are put into just one day of fun, it’s clear as to why this is the 13th year. It’s passion that drives this fundraiser day in and day out. We all want one goal: to raise money and have fun doing it. And I truly think Pumpkin Fest captures that essence like no other fundraiser.”
The upcoming Pumpkin Fest will include many diverse activities that are all available to the Weston community. According to Levin, the activities that have been the trademark of this event will continue to bring to life Pumpkin Fest’s family-friendly atmosphere.
“With multiple arts and crafts, games, karaoke, and pumpkin carving, every kid can find their niche and have fun for hours,” Levin said. “Not to mention the free candy as prizes!”
According to Tomaso, many new performers will be featured at the event.
“Some new performers this year include the Bubble Man coming to perform for the kids as well as the Weston Friendly Society and the WHS Theater Company, who will be doing some short scenes from their plays,” Tomaso said.
McCarty added that many artists who have participated in the past will be returning to Pumpkin Fest this year.
“[Senior] Eche [Onwuama] will be performing, and we plan on getting the a cappella groups to perform again. We also plan on doing some karaoke with the kids that come so they can sing their favorite songs,” McCarty said.
This event is supported by a host of WHS student and parent volunteers. Having participated as a volunteer in her first two years and an Auction Committee member the year after that, Sins noted the work that goes into running this event.
“I’m overseeing the auction, pumpkin carving, and publicity committee, so it’s definitely a lot more work than only the auction committee,” she said. “We have to make sure everyone is completing their tasks so everything can run smoothly.”
Levin also stressed the importance of the performers and volunteers who make this sizable event possible.
“We want as many [members] of the student body involved to truly make it a town-wide event. All ages attend, from high schoolers to elementary kids, and we want to keep it that way. With over 60 committed volunteers each year, there are always hands on deck 24/7 making the event enjoyable for all,” Levin said.
Similarly, McCarty wishes that the community is able to support the upcoming event.
“I hope that everyone will come out on October 13 to support the kids’ hard work and Camp Sunshine,” she said.