WESTFIELD, NJ — The full schedule for AddamsFest has been announced on AddamsFest.com, and it’s jam-packed with events for people of all ages.
The town-wide celebration will honor Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creation, "The Addams Family," throughout October all around town, with a slew of events planned for the Friday and weekend just before Halloween.
There will be a house-decorating contest, a pumpkin-carving demonstration by the Maniac Pumpkin Cavers, paranormal investigations at the historic Reeve House, screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “The Addams Family” movie, an exhibit of Addams’ work, a beer garden, a kids fun zone, a parade, a trunk or treat, a masquerade ball and more.
“AddamsFest is for the community, by the community,” Councilwoman and AddamsFest Chair Dawn Mackey said. “There is extraordinary volunteerism going into this event.”
“To date, we have more than 60 residents who have participated in AddamsFest planning on a volunteer basis, many who have devoted substantial amounts of time to help ensure its success, like myself, Dawn and others,” said Adrian Pastore, the festival’s executive director. “These volunteers have assisted with event planning, marketing and sponsorship.”
Among the volunteers they are looking for are artists and others who are good with crafts to help create the Wicked Windows of Westfield.
“Our local stores have signed up to decorate their windows in October,” Pastore said last week. “Thus far, 20 businesses have formally signed up and that number keeps increasing almost daily.”
Most of the stores will be assigned a citizen volunteer or volunteers to help decorate their windows, she said. Day-of-event volunteers are also wanted.
“Each event will require volunteers to ensure its success,” Pastore said.
Also in early October, there will be The Addams Family House on Mindowaskin Lake, a Haunt Your House home decorating contest, the Westfield High School Charles Addams Cartoon Contest and a Charles Addams art exhibit (October 22-30).
The three-day main event will kick off on Oct. 26 with Morticia and Gomez’s Masquerade Ball at The James Ward Mansion. After walking the purple carpet, guests will enjoy Charles Addams-inspired gourmet fare, smoldering libations and dancing. Due to anticipated demand, tickets will be sold in three batches at www.addamsfest.com on the following dates, on first come, first served basis: Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 10 a.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, at 5 p.m.; and Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. The price is $125 per ticket, with a limit of four tickets per person.
On Oct. 27, the festival will officially begin with the opening ceremony at the bandstand in Mindowaskin Park at 10:30 a.m., which will include remarks from Mayor Shelley Brindle and the presentation of a skeleton key to the town to a deserving individual. Winners of Westfield High School’s Charles Addams Cartoon Contest will also be announced.
Other events include:
- The Addams Family Fun Zone: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Mindowaskin Park
Sponsored by the Westfield Educators Association
- Gomez’s Lecture Series: Varying times throughout the weekend
The Life of Charles Addams, by Addams Enthusiast Ron MacCloskey
The Lighter Side of Darkness: A conversation about the Addams aesthetic
The Chas Addams Family Workshop, by New Yorker Cartoonist Felipe Galindo
The Chas Addams Tour, hosted by the Westfield Historical Society
- Morticia’s Movies: Rialto Movie Theater, times vary
Sponsored by Havens Savings Bank, screenings will include "The Addams Family Movie" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Advance ticket purchase is required and will be available on the AddamsFest website in the upcoming weeks.
- “Chill” on Quimby and Elm Streets: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sponsored by Columbia Bank and inspired by Charles Addams’ high school nickname, “Chil,” Quimby and Elm streets will have live music, games of giant chess, street performers and an unforgettable demonstration by the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers.
- Charlie’s Ale Garden: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m., Quimby and Elm Streets
Sponsored by Harvest Restaurant Group, the parent company of Addams Tavern
Friends and neighbors will gather under the stars to enjoy a special Addams Ale as Quimby and Elm streets are transformed into a gathering place where memories are made as music fills the streets and local restaurants highlight their festival specialties. Tickets, which include admission and a commemorative glass, are available now on the AddamsFest website.
- Paranormal Investigations at the Westfield Historical Society’s Reeve House: 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Advance ticket purchase is required and will be available on the AddamsFest website in the upcoming weeks.
On Sunday, the festival will continue with more of Morticia’s Movies and Gomez’s Lecture Series throughout the day, according to the website. In addition, participants are invited to attend the continuation of a Westfield tradition with an AddamsFest twist: The Optimist Club of Westfield’s Annual Halloween Parade and Costume Contest will welcome visitors to a new location this year, at the South Avenue train station, beginning at 1:30 p.m., featuring even more prizes and fun than in past years.
The Downtown Westfield Corporation’s costume contest will follow shortly afterward, along with a new event: Pugsley’s Trunk or Treat. The South Avenue train station will become Halloween trick-or-treating central, with prizes distributed for best car decorations. The parade, costume contest and trunk-or-treating are open to anyone. Advance registration is required for cars participating in the trunk-or-treat candy distribution. Additional details will be provided on the AddamsFest website in the upcoming weeks.
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