CHATHAM – The summer residents have gone and the leaves are falling from the trees. Must be about time for the Pumpkin People to make their return.
Indeed, this Friday, Oct. 18, members of the Chatham Merchants Association will be marching into Kate Gould Park to set up their autumnal creations in the group's annual Pumpkin People in the Park display, which runs through Oct. 29.
This year's Oktoberfest celebration takes place Oct. 26 and will feature food, games and music with a distinctly fall feel.
The festival happens from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Kate Gould Park. Food vendors will include Devil's Purse Brewing Company, Chatham Inn and Wine Bar, Captain's Table, Chatham Orpheum Cafe and others.
There will also be music at the bandstand from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring the Chatham Band, That '60s Band and a group of musicians who played Mondays on Main this past summer.
Top that off with seasonal games for kids, including pumpkin bowling and apple bobbing, and you have the makings for a fun and full day.
To encourage folks to move outside the park and into downtown shops and restaurants, the merchants association is sponsoring the “Pumpkin Patch Sidewalk Stroll” during Oktoberfest. Shops will be displaying merchandise along the sidewalk, and there will be raffles to encourage stopping into stores; participating merchants will display a pumpkin outside their shops.
But the prelude to that is the Pumpkin People installation. Various merchants and local organizations sponsor the creations, which in the past have ranged from simple scarecrow-type creatures to very elaborate scenarios involving dozens of pumpkins. According to coordinator Jenn Allard, about 20 submissions had been received by early this week. The Pumpkin People will be judged on Oct. 21 with awards going to the most creative, best showcase of a “Pumpkin Person,” and most artistic. The winners will be announced before Oktoberfest so they can be showcased during the event.