By Gary Pullano
What’s new with this year’s Pumpkinfest?
The theme of the 28th annual festival taking place Thursday through Saturday.
“This year’s theme, ‘Made In Zeeland,’ will showcase many different products made in Zeeland along with other creative ways to express this theme presented in a way that is personalized to everyone that participates,” said Ann Baarman, program coordinator for the Michigan West Coast Chamber or Commerce’s Zeeland office. “The downtown decor will feature more than 20 different businesses that have been or are still in our community.”
Pumpkinfest brochures are available at various Zeeland/Holland retail stores and the Michigan West Coast Chamber, 149 E. Main Ave. More information is at pumpkinfest-zeeland.org, or on Facebook.
Among the returning family favorites are a Pumpkinfest bake off, pie-eating contest, pumpkin seed spitting event and a pumpkin rolling contest.
Educational activities include blacksmith demonstrations and the Critter Barn educational zone.
Youngsters also will have the opportunity to take part in Chalk City, Pumpkin Creations, children’s story time, Kids Pedal Power Tractor Pull and the Great Pumpkin Chase Run. Children’s games will be put on by cheerleaders from Zeeland East High School
Seniors also are included in the offerings, including guessing games and senior bingo.
Other activities include the Rotary chicken barbecue, which will take place from 2-6 p.m. on Saturday at Second Reformed Church.
The entertainment tent also will be open from 8-11 p.m. Saturday and will be hosted by Vitale’s Pizza of Zeeland. The tent will be next to the restaurant and feature live music by band members of Hello Dave and Domestic Problems.
The 5K and fun run for all ages is an event coordinated by the Zeeland Athletic Boosters. Proceeds will help fund activities for the youth of the community. The run is 7:45 a.m. Saturday at Zeeland Stadium. Early registrants will receive a Pumpkinfest run shirt.
The Caring People Pumpkinfest Parade, sponsored by Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital, is 3 p.m. Saturday in downtown Zeeland. The event begins with pre-parade entertainment including the local band Tarnished Brass. The parade will feature marching bands, horses, tractors and floats featuring the “Made in Zeeland” theme.
This year’s parade will honor former Zeeland Mayor Les Hoogland who is the grand marshal.
Alumni and guests of the restored New Groningen Schoolhouse, 10537 Paw Paw Drive, will have an opportunity to renew acquaintances and spin yarns during Pumpkinfest from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday when the building will be open for a schoolhouse reunion.
“Those who missed the previous open days are especially welcome,” said Dorothy Voss, founding member of the Zeeland Historical Society, which renovated the schoolhouse.