October 3, 2008
Pumpkinfest returns for its 13th year
Festival will be held this weekend in Courthouse Park
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Maverick Stafford, 5, of McGraw finds his favorite decorated pumpkin character while longtime Pumpkinfest volunteers Georgette Ogle and Lisa Hoeschele, far right, judge the entries in the 2007 pumpkin decorating contest.
Chicken spiedies, pumpkin pastries, deep-fried cookies and pickles, corn dogs and barbecue — the 13th annual Great Cortland Pumpkinfest will provide plenty for the palate Saturday and Sunday.
The city’s autumn highlight event at Courthouse Park features children’s games, music, microbrew tent and, yes, a variety of foods. Get in line for fish from Doug’s Fish Fry, pulled pork sandwiches from Syracuse’s Dinosaur BBQ or Smokey Boys, caramel apples courtesy of the Cortland YMCA, corn dogs from the United Methodist Church and pumpkin cannolis from East Side Bakery.
“We have new vendors every year,” said Angelo DiPietro, food committee chair. “Doug’s Fish Fry is back. They had trouble setting up cooking units but have different ones, so they’re ready. M&D Deli (Central Avenue) will be there. The Rotary Club has the chicken spiedies.”
Pumpkin pies will be for sale by the United Presbyterian Church, which plays host to its annual Pumpkin Pancake Supper today at 4:30 p.m. The Grace Episcopal Church will have its breakfast to benefit Loaves and Fishes at 7 a.m. Saturday. There are fees for both meals.
Pumpkinfest also features pony and hay rides, tents filled with crafts, a display of antique tractors, a 5K run on Saturday morning to benefit the Cortland YMCA and a variety of music.
“The festival has become a reunion sort of event for families and also for SUNY Cortland alumni,” said Co-chair, Jim Dempsey of the Cortland County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It really is the city’s only festival. Marathon has its Maple Festival in the spring, and Homer has Holiday in Homer. Cortland has this.”
Dempsey said two musical acts have returned after an absence of several years: dulcimer player Dan Duggan and the Old Timers Band. Duggan will perform all day Saturday next to the fountain.
“He’s always a hit,” Dempsey said. “I saw him play at the New York State Fair, and he interacts with the crowd.”
The Old Timers Band, which performs at 3 p.m. Sunday, traces its roots back to 1911.
The other musical performers Saturday are the Mohawk Valley Frasers Pipe Band (11 a.m., Celtic), Ithaca New Orleans Dixieland Band (12:30 p.m., jazz), Catskill Puppet Theatre (2 p.m.) and Mickey Sometimes (3 p.m., classic rock). Sunday’s performers also include The JazzHappensBand at noon.
The musical performers are sponsored by Tompkins Trust Co.
Children can take part Saturday in pumpkin baking and decorating contests and a pumpkin weigh-off, sponsored by First Niagara Bank. The pumpkin decorating contest is at 11 a.m., the pumpkin baking contest is at noon, and the weigh-off is at 2 p.m. Contestants in the weigh-off need to bring their pumpkins to the Convention and Visitors Bureau parking lot between 9 a.m. and noon.
Tickets for the microbrew tent are on sale at Groton Avenue Liquors, Quick Stop Beverage, Mando Books, Hairy Tony’s and Dark Horse Tavern. A fee can also be paid at the tent.
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