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Pumpkin fest returns Oct. 19

Pumpkin fest returns Oct. 19

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Ghouls, ghosts and goblins will once again wander through downtown.

The 5th annual Plainville Pumpkin Festival will be held Saturday, Oct. 19.

Starting at 4:45 p.m., hundreds of children cloaked in Halloween costumes – guided by one of the bands from the Middle School of Plainville – will march from the Recreation Department on Whiting Street to the library.

Also, between 4 and 8 p.m., some 14 food trucks and 50 vendors will be set up in the downtown area, a haunted house will be held in the caverns of the Frederick-Franklin Freemason Lodge and a band will perform in front of Town Hall.

The centerpiece of the festival, a massive pumpkin raised by competitive grower Gary Vincent, of Plainville, is expected to return this year.

The gourd was the focal point of the first three festivals, but the delicate behemoth was absent last year after it was damaged.

If all goes well, Vincent’s pumpkin will be set up in front of Town Hall.

“We literally have to stop traffic for a few minutes and get it situated right so it doesn’t roll down the hill and squash somebody,” said Kris Dargenio, who started the festival in 2015.

Families who picked out a normal-sized pumpkin to decorate will be able to show off their best jack-o-lanterns in the carving contest.

Also, youngsters will be able to paint their own pumpkin creations, though it’s not known if the carving tent will be making a comeback this year, due to the mess that comes with it.

Those who help make the festival a reality will be thanked through a pumpkin wall — dozens of pumpkins lined up on shelves carved with the names of the individuals and companies who support the event.

Volunteers will gather on Oct. 16 and 17 to gut and carve the pumpkins for the wall, 150 of which were donated by Zarrella Farms.

“We get so much support from all the businesses,” Dargenio said.

Festival organizers pay that support forward by donating the proceeds from the event to the Plainville Community Fund, an organ of the Main Street Community Foundation, which finances local projects and programs.

The festival has raised $25,500 over the previous four years, and Dargenio hopes to bring in $10,000 this time around.

“In turn, they give that money to local organizations that need the money for either scholarships or certain things — like the high school needed a new scoreboard and they couldn’t afford it, so they paid for that. Things like that around town that are important,” Dargenio said.

For the pumpkin fest, Route 372 will be shut down between Pierce Street and Neal Court and a few blocks of Whiting Street will be closed to traffic as well.

Buses will be available to shuttle people between Plainville High School and the festival.

Twitter: @leith_yessian

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