Pumpkinfest returns to Turners Saturday
Start getting into the spirit with today’s activities
Recorder file photo
Jae Roberge of Turners Falls, with Infernal Theater, performs a fire dance for Pumpkinfest.
Recorder file photo
Autumn Tarbox and brother Jack, at right, carve pumpkins with their uncle Bob Jandrue, of South Deerfield during last year’s Franklin County Pumpkinfest in Turners Falls.
TURNERS FALLS — Halloween is near, but there’s no reason to wait for the 31st to break out the carving knives and attack a pumpkin.
The Franklin County Pumpkinfest returns for a fourth year Saturday, with associated downtown happenings today.
Pumpkinfest begins at 2 p.m. Saturday with music on three stages, a beer tent and vendors of crafts and fried foods lining Avenue A. Pumpkins will also line the avenue, some sliced, fried and for sale, but most carved and illuminated.
The event draws thousands downtown each year and organizers hope for a comparable number of jack-o’-lanterns.
The jack-o’-lanterns are provided by visitors, with a pumpkin check-in station open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in front of the St. Kazimierz Society building by the Seventh Street intersection and another opening at noon at the Third Street intersection. Check-in stations are stocked with candles donated by Yankee Candle and the candle lightning begins a 6 p.m.
Founder, chief organizer and Montague Selectman Michael Nelson said Patterson Farm of Sunderland donated a truckload of pumpkins, but more are appreciated.
“We encourage everyone to bring pumpkins, I’d love to beat our best year, which was 1,400,” Nelson said.
The event is outdoors but runs rain or shine, and the forecast is so far clear.
Nelson said about 110 craft and food vendors have signed up, with everything from standard baked goods to pumpkin french fries and pumpkin-flavored cannoli.
“They put pumpkin into things I would never think of,” Nelson said.
For those who prefer their pumpkins with faces, there will be free pumpkin carving and lantern-making stations open from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Third Street intersection. The lanterns are to be carried in a parade along the bike path from the Third Street intersection at 7 p.m.
The River of Lights lantern parade, originally associated with the annual Turners Falls Block Party, is a new addition to the fall festivities, which will also feature two floating lantern send-offs from the Second Street intersection at 7 and 8 p.m., the first accompanied by fire dancers.
Avenue A will be closed between Second Street and Seventh Street, including the busy Third Street intersection, from noon to approximately midnight for the event, setup and cleanup.
Admission and parking are free. A free shuttle serves the parking lots at the Turners Falls High School, 222 Turnpike Road, and the Sheffield building of Montague Elementary, 43 Crocker Ave, to alleviate crowded side-street parking. Shuttle service runs from 2 to 10 p.m.
Performing on the main stage in Peskeomskut Park, also home to the beer tent, will be Lake Side Drive at 2 p.m., Ruby’s Complaint at 3:20 p.m., EvenSpeak at 4:40 p.m. and Curly Fingers Dupree at 6 p.m.
Also beginning at 2 p.m. and following the same intervals, Five Seven, Funklynator, the Tommy Fuentes Band and Lord Jeff perform at the Fourth Street intersection stage. New business River Station, on Third Street by Unity Park, hosts Corki and Ken Demers, Strange Men, ToneArms and Sandy Bailey, then Willy and the Poor Boys at 7:20 p.m. Radio Vendetta closes out the evening with a set from 7:40 to 9 p.m. in Peskeomskut Park.
The final Third Thursday Turners Falls of the season complements Saturday’s event with Halloween-themed food and activities at local businesses this evening.
On the list is pumpkin carving at new business River Station. The business will also be a third Pumpkinfest music venue this year.
The event runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., with participating businesses up and down Avenue A and Third Street.
A costume contest in front of the Shea Theater on Avenue A at 7:30 p.m. will award prizes for best children’s costume and best adult costume, with prizes including a $50 gift certificate to Gary’s Coins and Antiques and a $20 gift certificate to Loot.
On Avenue A, the Great Falls Discovery Center celebrates its 10th birthday with cake and information about gourds, squashes and pumpkins, the Black Cow Burger Bar offers pumpkin shakes, pumpkin cheesecake and seasonal beer, with an astrology act from 5 to 8 p.m. Next door at Nina’s Nook, spell words correctly and win a small pumpkin. Funk*Shun on Third Street promises glow sticks and edibles.
For a full schedule, visit the Turners Falls RiverCulture Facebook page or website, turnersfallsriverculture.org.
You can reach Chris Curtis at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257