October 5, 2009


Weather boosts Pumpkinfest

About 8,500 people attended the 14th annual festival over weekend


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Two-year-old Sebastien Frisson of Cortland plays on an inflatable obstacle course while dressed as a pumpkin at the Great Cortland Pumpkinfest Saturday.

Staff Reporter

After a week of rainy weather, the sun shone on the 14th Annual Great Cortland Pumpkinfest Saturday, drawing a big crowd to Courthouse Park.
“We lucked out, we had two days of fairly good weather. I would say we had one of our better crowds,” event Co-Chair Jim Dempsey said this morning. “It’s gaining a reputation.”
There were about 5,000 visitors Saturday and about 3,500 Sunday, he said.
Dempsey, who is director of the Cortland County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said two women travelled from Pennsylvania to attend the Pumpkinfest.
“It’s nice to hear it’s a good place to visit for the weekend. They came specifically to spend the day at our pumpkinfestival on Saturday.”
Marti Dumas, a volunteer with the Cortland County Historical Society, was manning a booth at which people could buy tickets to guess the weight of an enormous pumpkin grown by Gerald Young of East Homer. She said tickets were selling briskly.
“People seem to be fascinated with this pumpkin,” Dumas said. “It’s a good picture-taking opportunity.”
The weight-guessing event was a fundraiser for the society. The winning guessers would get gift certificates donated by Price Chopper.
Pumpkin vendors said their wares were selling well.
“We’ve sold quite a few,” said Jeff Reakes of Reakes Country Goods in Truxton. “It’s a great turnout and great weather.”
As could be expected, the pumpkin theme permeated the weekend festival.
At the baked goods contest, judges tasted a host of pumpkin products, including cookies, tarts, cream cheese bars, mousse and, of course, pies. The pumpkin decorating contest featured orange gourds of all sizes depicting a host of characters, such as Frankenstein, Spiderman, Betty Boop, Harry Potter, Donald Duck, a red M&M, and much more.
Music from various musical acts played in the background as people browsed dozens of vendors’ booths, where all kinds of crafts, clothing, jewelry and food were offered. The beer tasting area drew a crowd.
The only trace of the week’s rainy weather were puddles and patches of mud dotting the grounds.
Even youngsters got in on the act. Tully resident Elizabeth Edinger and daughter Abigail, 2, waited in line for a pony ride. When asked if she was having fun, Abigail belted out an enthusiastic “Yeah — I’m going to ride a pony. Garrett’s going to ride too.”
She pointed to Garrett Hand, also 2, who was waiting in line with his mother, Mary Beth, also of Tully.
“I rode a pony at the circus,” Garrett said.


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