If this era has taught us anything, it’s that three simple words can mean the world in the face of adversity. Are they A) I love you. B. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. Or C) Virtual Pumpkin Festival? All the above are correct, but “C” has special meaning for those in Healdsburg.
Presented by the Healdsburg Certified Farmers’ Market, the town’s annual Pumpkin Festival is following the pandemic-era trend established by schools, work and even the Supreme Court hearings by bringing the festival online.
A highlight of festivals-past involved racing pumpkins—decorated and outfitted with wheels inserted into them—down a specially-made track. There was also a pumpkin-carving competition, and last year organizers added a costume competition. Much of this can be virtualized, according to the organizers: Pumpkins can be decorated and made ready to race at home, pumpkins can be carved at home, costumes can be donned—and all of it can be posted.
“Healdsburg is a big family town and many attend the market,” says market manager Janet Ciel. “This festival, and the Zucchini Fest, which should have happened in August, have been our biggest events for families for over 30 years.”
The deadline for Virtual Pumpkin Festival Halloween Week competition entries is Oct. 26, with online voting Oct. 27–28 and winners contacted on Oct. 29. Prizes will be awarded at an awards ceremony at 9:30am, Saturday, Oct. 31, at the market in the West Plaza parking lot.
Contestants should email photos of their creative processes and finished masterpieces to [email protected]. These will be posted to healdsburgfarmersmarket.org, where everyone is invited to vote for their favorite.
Prizes include gift certificates to Valette, Amy’s Wicked Slush, Shelton’s Natural Foods, Spokefolk and Park Point Health Club, plus prizes from Toyworks, Copperfield’s Books and Gustafson Winery. All entrants also receive two “market bucks” for participating.
“This is definitely an attempt to heal, not only what we’ve been currently dealing with—the pandemic and the fires and air quality—but also the loss of Halloween last year,” says Ciel. “The Kincade Fire caused the Pumpkin Festival to be postponed for 2 weeks, and it wasn’t the same. I want to give the kids something special to do for this holiday; especially given how much has had to be cancelled, and I want to bring as many families to the market as possible.”
For more information and entry rules visit healdsburgfarmersmarket.org/pumpkin-festival-2020.