The Great Pumpkin Festival
The first annual event will be held Sept. 22 at the North Smithfield Elementary
School on Providence Pike. So far, 28 nonprofit groups and organizations have
signed up to set up booths for the day-long festival, which organizers are
hoping will be an annual event. The town will sponsor several of its owns
booths, including live entertainment, make your own scarecrow, carve your own
jack-o-lantern and a Great Pumpkin Chuck, in which pumpkins will be shot into
the air with a catapult.
"Many of us feel this could be an annual event that defines North Smithfield,"
said Town Administrator Robert B. Lowe. "Like Woonsocket's Autumnfest and
Cumberland's CumberlandFest, we wanted a festival with a North Smithfield
Lowe said the idea for a town autumnal celebration was born out of the town's
extremely successful fundraising event two years ago when the community pulled
together to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, an event that raised $50,000. At
that time, Lowe said, the town's nonprofit organizations and groups came out in
droves, eager to help out.
"What we realized at that time is that there are a lot of nonprofits in town,
and if we had a festival we could open it up to those organizations and let them
set up a booth for free. The feeling is that people are hungry for this kind of
thing," Lowe said.
Organizers are hoping to make the festival a destination place in the coming
Nonprofits who take part in the event with a booth keep all proceeds. The
proceeds generated from the town-sponsored events, such as the live
entertainment and Great Pumpkin Chuck, will be utilized for community
enhancement programs, including the creation of an outdoor ice skating rink at
The North Smithfield Fire Department and North Smithfield High School class of
2008 have signed on to sell hot dogs, and the Parents Football Group will be
serving up clam cakes and chowder.
The Congregational Church, North Smithfield Teachers Association and Homestead
Gardens will all have booths, as will the Conservation Commission and Animal
Shelter and many others.
There will be bands and other live musical entertainment, a classic car show,
motorcycle rally, face-painting, raffles, pumpkin painting, kids games, book
sales, magic show, story tellers and more.
There will also be a giant pumpkin on site and a prize for the person who
guesses the correct weight.
Select town merchants will sell festival buttons for admission at $1 each.
Lowe said the festival wouldn't have been possible if not for the efforts of
Katy Hall, Donna Kaehler, Melissa Flaherty and Paulette Hamilton, who are the
prime movers and shakers behind the planning of the event. Especially Hall and
Kaehler, who were instrumental in coordinating the Katrina fundraiser two years
ago, he said.
Several town businesses have also come forwards to offer financial support to
help inaugurate the festival through the purchase of advertisements, signs,
flyers and newspaper ads.
Any nonprofit organizations who would like to participate in the festival or any
business who would like to help with sponsorship can call Lowe at (401)
767-2202, ext. 303; Hall at (401) 769-9310; or Kaehler at (401) 762-2542.
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