Manchester celebrates pumpkin festival with corn mazes, scarecrows, witches
10/21/2013 10:03:10 AM EDT
MANCHESTER - Scarecrows were stuffed, corn mazes navigated and witches hats decorated over the weekend, by families in the Halloween spirit.
The 8th annual Pumpkin Carving Harvest Festival at Equinox Nursery saw beautiful weather for the first time in the past three years, at its 1158 Main St. location.
"Everyone seems to really look forward to this," said Penny Preuss, of the family-owned nursery. "We can usually expect quite a good turnout."
A children's costume parade had superheroes, lizards and princesses lining up, some still with sugar on their faces from a turn at the doughnut eating contest.
Nathan Severance, 14, sat guard outside the corn maze, where dinosaurs rose above the corn stalks and wagon rides passed by.
"I'm never doing the same thing twice here, so it's fun," said Severance, a freshman at Burr and Burton Academy.
Another Equinox teammember, Mary Grabarz works throughout the foliage season, but on Saturday she was doing something even more colorful face painting.
Estimating she would paint over 50 children into butterflies, puppies and pumpkins, Grabarz transformed a steady line of small festival-goers.
"They adore this," said Francesca Thompson, of Dorset, who enjoyed the day with her son Cooper, 7 and his friend Joe. Thompson's daughter, Palmer, 4, sat patiently before catching sight of herself in the mirror - a pink and white kitty complete with glitter.
"We come here during the summer for our plants and our flowers, but we always come to this event," said Thompson, while the boys took a turn on the inflatable bounce house.
Dave Morse and his daughter Annabella, 5, had fun, and cider doughnuts together. "Whatever she wants to do - we're enjoying the day," said Morse, who heard about the event through his job in the area. Annabella also sported a kitten face, leading the trend.
Art, jewelry and crafts vendors were on hand for the beautiful weather, along with cotton candy, beer and wine booths.
Proceeds from the annual event contribute to feeding as many as 400 local families.
"It's really great to have everyone here today and be able to have this help," said Emmy McCusker, president of the Community Food Cupboard, who counts the event among their main fundraisers.
"We serve probably over 1,000 people," said McCusker, of the 13 local communities who may participate in the program.
There to donate, and gather with others of their kind, Judy Paris, of Manchester, and Anna Bovienzo, of Sunderland, wore their full witch attire.
"We always make a girls' day of it, with lunch and shopping," said Bovienzo.
Complete with broomsticks, cobwebs, black boots and capes, and witches hats sparkling ominously in the sunshine, Paris and Bovienzo rallied with other 'Witches of the North Shire,' for their annual gathering and photograph in the cornfield.
Two dozen witches of all sizes, one cleverly disguised as a princess wearing all pink with a black pointed hat, lined up while a black cat wove between their feet, before disappearing around the corner.
"This isn't a real coven," said Paris. "We won't be casting any spells today."
The food cupboard is open Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m.; Wednesdays from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Town Hall. Donations are welcome.
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