September 30, 2011


Community groups are part of the patchwork of Pumpkinfest

Organizations like SPCA will be at the festival this weekend to tell people what they do

Staff Reporter

The annual Great Cortland Pumpkinfest this weekend will give community organizations a chance to gain public exposure for their activities and raise money.
Pumpkinfest will take place Saturday and Sunday at Courthouse Park, providing a social event as well as a chance to celebrate the fall season.
The Cortland Community Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is manning a booth that will feature treats for dogs and cats.
Sharon Blatchley, a board of directors member, said the community presence is crucial.
“It is an opportunity for the community to see what we do,” Blatchley said, adding that spay and neuter information will be available.
Blatchley hopes that the more community awareness that is generated, the more money can be raised in upcoming fundraisers to go toward the shelter expenses and animal care.
Cortland County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Jim Dempsey said attendance varies depending on the weather but on a good year there may be over 9,000 people coming through the park during the two days. Over 100 craft vendors and about 20 different food vendors are also present.
Colleen Dye, who coordinates the vendors for the craft booths, said the community organizations are dispersed throughout the crafts displays.
Terri Fendya is a member of the volunteer group Center Circle, for the Center for the Arts in Homer, another group that will also have a booth.
Fendya said the group will pass out membership information and pamphlets about upcoming seasons as well as sponsorship information.
“It gives us exposure in the community because everybody goes to the Pumpkinfest,” Fendya said.
Fendya said the exposure is important because it lets the public know what the Center for the Arts does and how to be a part of it.
“Because it is their art center,” Fendya added.
The Cortland Historical Society will be the group behind the chance to guess the weight of a giant pumpkin.
The society sponsors the weight-guess challenge, which costs $1 a guess or $2 for three guesses. The proceeds profit the society, said historical society Director Mindy Leisenring.
The society will also sell publications such as local history books and calendars as a fundraiser.
“It is good for the community because it is community involvement and tourism and it is good for us because ... the more people who are aware of what we do, the more people who will visit and support us in the future,” Leisenring said.
Glenn Reisweber , director of Lime Hollow Center for Environment and Culture, said the center will have a booth informing the public about programs it offers, particularly for children.
Reisweber said the exposure can result in unexpected positive outcomes.
Reisweber said one year a contact made at the Pumpkin Fest caused him to apply for grants, which the center later received to fund its cross country ski program and education programs.
“That’s $8,000 or $9,000 from one contact. I tell our board members, ‘you just never know,’” said Reisweber.


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