HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- The fifth annual Pumpkinpalooza was a community affair on Saturday, with music, dancing, a home run derby, chowder cook-off, family yoga, a medieval combat demonstration and wagon rides throughout the day.
The event is sponsored in part by the Hoosick Armory Youth Center, and Community Coalition.
The day started with a pancake breakfast hosted by Girl Scout Troop No. 1259, followed by the Rolf Max Sternberg 5K for Vibrant Communities, at Wood Memorial Park.
Shira and Tava Sternberg, both of Boston, ran in their father's memory and crossed the finish line together.
"This was by far our largest run ever," said Michael Baker, president of HAYC3, who estimated the increase was by as much as 30 percent.
"Everyone loved our dad," Shira said, "He cared a lot about the community and we're honored so many people came." "This is as much for them as it is for us," added Tava, noting that friends traveled from as far away as New York, Washington D.C. and Massachusetts to participate. The race was won by their friend, Ben Levitt of Boston.
Formerly of Sternberg and Gorman LLP, the late Mr. Sternberg, who passed away last year, ran daily, often carrying a garbage bag to pick up trash along the way. Plans for next year's race include garbage bags for every runner.
Just down the road, at the Town Athletic Fields, the Pumpkin' Chuckin' Competition saw 3-pound pumpkins hurling through the air before smashing on, or near, their targets.
Both teams, "Orange Justice," and the "Siege Monkeys," built wooden catapults to launch their pumpkins in long and close range shots.
Hoosick Falls physics teacher and "head pumpkin," Tony Malikowski, led freshman and sophomores in the creation of their machine, "Big Blue Bazinga," which the team built in less than a week.
Jack Murphy led the second team from All Saints Church, with their catapult, "Murphy's Law." "Next year I will definitely be recruiting for new teams," said Malikowski, who helped co-captains Darryl Holovach and Devin Weingold.
Carter Bevis, 12, filmed the action for his brother and Siege Monkeys member, Dawson Bevis, 14, and said he was most excited for the long range round.
"Basically, you're seeing a Medieval artillery come to life on a smaller scale," said Dube, who works at Curtis Lumber where many of the materials were purchased, and helped to sort through stacks of wood looking for perfect pieces. "These things took down many a castle wall."
Parading by, dogs dressed as ballerinas and scarecrows shared the spotlight with other pets including chickens, llamas and cats, followed by an award ceremony and performance by the Hoosick Falls Central School Jazz Band. Proceeds of the event are to benefit youth and community programming efforts sponsored by HAYC3 throughout the year.
"We try not to put too much pressure on our community for funding, this is one of the only times we raise money," said Aelish Nealson, executive director of the coalition.
Beneath a near-full moon, the day ended with a Harvest Moon Dinner held at the Armory, attended by more than 160, and music by local symphony Sage City Six.
Upcoming events include the Artisans Exchange & Market on Oct. 2, from 4 to 7 p.m. ; and the Suicide Prevention Walk on Oct. 6, at 6 p.m.
For more information, contact the Hoosick Armory Youth Center, and Community Coalition at 518-686-9050 or visit www.hayc3.org.
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