NORTH PLATTE – Winter weather invaded the 22nd annual pumpkin festival at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in North Platte Oct. 14, but more than 60 parishioners persevered to enjoy the outdoor event.
With temperatures in the 20s, snow and wind, the participants donned their winter wear and continued with outdoor activities for the kids, and other venues were moved inside. Even the cake walk wasn’t deterred and all of the 50-plus cakes were won by those brave enough to endure the cold for a home-baked treat.
The annual tradition was started in 1996 by Father Gary Brethour in an effort to bring the parish community together to work collaboratively for a common goal.
Current pastor Father Mark Seiker recalled about 10 years ago when they had 18 inches of snow for the pumpkin festival. All in all, he said, the weather generally has been very good, always falling on the second weekend in October.
Attendance was down, but the activities and enthusiasm of those who attended wasn’t dampened. Pumpkins of all sizes, grown by a parishioner, were provided for sale. Ponies provided rides for children. Food booths included authentic Mexican fare, barbecue turkey legs, burgers, brats, pulled pork, and Indian fry bread. A bake sale offered a vast variety of baked goods from homemade pies to homemade cakes to cinnamon rolls. Freshley-popped popcorn and balloons were available as well.
Visitors also had the opportunity to browse through a boutique that offered homemade craft items such as handmade quilts, Catholic retail items and a booth by Spirit Catholic Radio. A silent auction, a quilt raffle and a general raffle with multiple prizes rounded out the event.
Due to the below freezing temps, some of the regular activities that were absent this year were: a hayrack ride, a miniature train rides for kids, a DJ providing a variety of music and a trebuchet (catapult)!
Tear-down, usually done in one day, took place over several days to allow the tents to dry.
Submitted by Jan Daniel, president, Altar Society