Lake Bluff readies for Pumpkin Fest
The 25th annual Pumpkin Fest, set to include a 5K, family fest, spook walk and more, is heralded at the school with banners. Colleen Wilson, left, and 2-year-old Paige hold a banner with Linda Smaligo. | Joe Cyganowski~ For Sun-Times Media
Friday, Oct. 12
4-5:30 p.m. - LBES staff kickball game at Artesian Park
5:30-8 p.m. - Pizza dinner and Pumpkin Chase registration at Lake Bluff Middle School, includes pumpkin-decorating, raffle, face-painting.
6-8 p.m. - Haunted Forest at Artesian Park
Saturday, Oct. 13
8 a.m. - 5K Pumpkin Chase race begins
9:15 a.m. - 1-mile Family Fun Run begins
9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. - Pumpkin Fest activities, including games, prizes, inflatables, bake sale, pumpkin sale, crafts, teacher raffle and coffin grab
Updated: October 4, 2012 2:10PM
LAKE BLUFF — They have an ambitious goal to raise a record $25,000, but organizers of the 25th annual Pumpkin Fest and Chase feel confident they can pull it off.
After all, what started as a quiet pumpkin sale in 1987 has swelled to a two-day community event that includes dinner and a haunted forest followed by a morning 5K and 1-mile fun run that draws more than 500 participants — followed by a festival featuring games, inflatables, crafts, a raffle and, staying true to its roots, a pumpkin sale.
“We usually make about $20,000 every year,” said Lake Bluff PTO President Kate Amaral. “With this economy, every year we’ve been surprised we’ve done as well as we have. We’ve always been able to meet our goals.”
All proceeds from the two-day festival, which will be Friday, Oct. 12, and Saturday, Oct. 13, at Lake Bluff Middle School, 31 E. Sheridan Place, benefit the Lake Bluff PTO.
The organization supports enrichment programs and social events that bring District 65 families together. The fall event is the organization’s biggest fund-raiser.
Rich Martin of Lake Bluff, who has organized the Pumpkin Chase for the past 11 years, thinks one reason the event has caught on with students, teachers and families alike is a reflection of the community itself.
“It used to be a sleepy little race,” he said.
Today, District 65 teachers and staff participate. Some show up in funny costumes, and whole families get involved. People from neighboring communities even come out to run and stay for the festival.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Martin said.
To ensure this year’s event is a success, help is needed.
“One of our biggest concerns is volunteers,” said Stacy Salanty, who is co-chairing the Pumpkin Fest this year with Kristina Mills. “We need over 150 volunteers for the two-day event.”
Volunteer duties include running a game, manning an inflatable and selling hotdogs for a 90-minute shift.
To volunteer or for more information on the Pumpkin Chase and Fest, go to www.lb65.org and click on the PTO tab.