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Wilbraham to have first Fall Festival

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM The Wilbraham Nature and Cultural Center had so much fun hosting Summerfest, they've decided to continue the festivities into autumn with the first ever Fall Festival on Oct. 13 from 2 - 9 p.m.

"This is going to be a family fun day," Celine Gaudreau, organizer of the event, said. "It'll be just like an old fashioned fall fest there will be pumpkin painting, a traveling zoo visiting from Forest Park, sack races, a donut eating game, pony rides and more."

A dinner is included with all the festivities, so advance tickets are a must.

Other activities scheduled for the day include face painting, a pumpkin ring toss, a craft table for kids to make Halloween goodies and pine cone bird feeders, an inflatable slide and the opportunity to make caramel apples.

Mr. Pumpkin (who is actually Mr. Peach in his fall outfit) will be on hand as well.

The activities will take place from 2 - 5 p.m. along with musical performances from local teen musicians and bands like the Crossing, TJ Dwyer and Colin Geaghan. Irish step dancers will perform as well, as will the Hampden Theater Guild, singing a few songs from their production of "The Music Man."

"There will be a few entertainment surprises, too," Gaudreau said.

Dinner will be served from 4:30 - 6 p.m., and from 6 - 7 p.m., the winners of the scarecrow contest will be announced, with cash prizes awarded from sponsor Willard Financial Group.

With all the activities for children, the adults need something to do as well.

"There's so much to do," Gaudreau stated. "There will be a live auction of jewelry from Hannoush Jewelers, a trip from AAA, golf for four at the Wilbraham Country Club, three different themed children's birthday parties (from the YMCA, Colorful Creations and photographer Karen Geaghan) and a DVD player donated by Selectman James Thompson."

A large raffle of over 60 items will take place inside Fountain Park's barn.

A cash bar for the adult crowd will be open from 5 - 8 p.m.

The day ends at 9 p.m. with a large bonfire and s'mores, backed by music from Michael Kane.

"I'm nervous just thinking about this," Gaudreau admitted, "but we've got a great group of volunteers helping out, including the Key Club from Minnechaug.

The funds raised by the Fall Festival will go toward the maintenance of Fountain Park. "We need to do a lot to keep it beautiful," Gaudreau said.

She suggests that those planning to attend bring a blanket or folding chairs to rest on throughout the day, although seating will be available for dinner.

Tickets are available by calling Celine Gaudreau at 543-3534. The deadline for purchasing tickets is Oct. 10.

The rain date for the event is Oct. 14 from 2 - 9 p.m.