WESTFIELD, NJ – For resident Mark Grinis, attending Franklin School’s Parent Teacher Organization's annual Pumpkin Fair is a family tradition and an important part of the season.
“This is the launch of fall,” Grinis said while watching his daughters play games at the fair on Saturday. “And, of course, a little candy never hurts, either.”
Thankful for sunny skies and mild weather, visitors celebrated fall and enjoyed favorite carnival-style games such as the cookie walk, throwing a golf ball in a water-filled glass vase to win a goldfish and ring-toss with mummies. Many visitors got their faces painted or jumped in the inflatable bounce house on the school’s field, as well. Hot dogs, pizza, cotton candy and Halloween-themed baked goodies were also on hand.
Alex Grinis, seven, and her sister Sasha, six, were thrilled to win goldfish for the first time. What was Alex planning on naming her new pet?
“Cupcake,” she said after a moment’s thinking.
Susan Francis, co-chair of the event with Allison Friedman, expected about 600-800 visitors to come to the fair. Around 200 volunteers planned, organized, set up and worked the event.
A centerpiece of the Pumpkin Fair is the class basket raffle. Parents from each class at Franklin prepare themed gift baskets with donated items which are raffled off. Attendees could browse a display of this year’s baskets and enter to win prizes while strolling around the fair.
“All the proceeds from that go directly back to the teachers and their wish lists,” Francis said.
A sixth grade student at Roosevelt Intermediate School, Katie McHugh appreciated returning to her former elementary school, helping at the mummy ring toss game and seeing familiar faces.
“I saw a lot of my teachers here,” she said while getting her face painted with the name of her soccer team.
The fair tends to draw visitors from around Westfield and beyond. Tina Ford of Plainfield brought her daughter and grandson to the fair for the second year. She looked on while four year-old Ja’Sere Ford got a football painted on his face.
The boy seemed happy with the football but was eager to go on to the next attraction.
“Can I go in the bouncy house now?” he asked his grandmother.