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News and Upcoming Pumpkinfest Events

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  • Pumpkinfest Volunteers Awarded for their Years of Service
    June 18, 2014 | 0 comments

    (Owen Sound) – On Monday June 9, 2014, the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration presented the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards to individuals recognized for 5 to 60+ years of continuous service in a given organization. The Ontario Honours and Awards Secretariat recognized seven Port Elgin Pumpkinfest volunteers for their dedicated years of service to the event.

    These recipients included Connie Barker (vendor director), John Kirkham (weigh-off tent), Katie Kranenburg (volunteer food services), Al Lavigne (forklift), Jody O'Hara (entertainment stage) and Shane Wells (car show). Brendon MacKenzie received the special youth award.

    Sally Hunt, Pumpkinfest Coordinator congratulates all the well-deserving volunteers, "It's very difficult to pick just 7 volunteers, but we are limited in our nominations to 6 plus one youth each year – we wish we could recognize all of them, every year!" "We are so lucky in Saugeen Shores to have such dedicated people to help keep our event sustainable and fresh. Thanks must go out to the community at large - from the business sponsors and partners, the non-profit groups who fundraise by performing a valuable service or by bringing an exciting attraction to the event, to the hundreds of individuals who graciously volunteer their time. Pumpkinfest is truly an event that takes a whole community to make it successful".

    If you would like more information on how to become an event volunteer, contact Corby Leitch, Community Relations Coordinator at Pumpkinfest Headquarters (519) 389-3714.

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  • Pumpkinfest Funding Opportunities Give Back Almost $40,000 to the Community Annually
    May 30, 2014 | 0 comments

    (Port Elgin) – The Port Elgin Pumpkinfest Committee has announced the 2014 service contracts which are available to non-profit and service organizations. Over $8,000 is available to groups who wish to perform a variety of necessary jobs at the event such as admission gates, parking and traffic control, garbage collection, the organization of the Kiddie Karnival and many others.

    Lisa Billing, Pumpkinfest Volunteer and Non-Profit Director said she is very excited about her new volunteer role within the organization and can't wait to begin meeting with the groups involved. "It's a lot to learn but with the help of staff, I am confident that I will be able to dedicate myself to ensure all groups' needs and concerns are addressed. This is such a wonderful opportunity for local organizations to not only raise funds, but to increase awareness around their initiatives and projects." said Billing. "Without the support of our community, sponsors, non-profit and service organizations and the hundreds of volunteers, Pumpkinfest would not be the unique and special event it has become. It truly takes an entire community to successfully run a festival of this magnitude and Pumpkinfest is very proud to give back. Through paid service contracts and on-site fundraising opportunities, local non-profit organizations have the opportunity to raise funds and showcase the important work they do to over 50,000 visitors."

    This year there are 17 service contracts available, three of which are new to the festival and include; assisting with site set-up, conducting an economic impact intercept survey and providing a food delivery service for the craft show and other vendors.

    "Many of the groups and organizations who provide these services come back year after year – some have held their contracts for many years", said Sally Hunt, Pumpkinfest Coordinator. "We try to change up the contracts, or add new opportunities from time to time to allow new groups to partner with the festival. We are always excited when we're approached by a new group interested in participating."

    In addition to the service contracts Port Elgin Pumpkinfest also encourages local non-profit and service organizations to come up with creative and unique ways of fundraising at the festival. "This is a fantastic way for local groups to engage tens of thousands of people over one weekend," said Billing. "Although barbeques and raffles are always welcome there is a limit to how many we can have at the event. Added value events such as a Saturday night dance, children's entertainment and games, and car washes are some examples, but all ideas are definitely welcome", said Billing.

    Fundraising activities that are sanctioned attractions of the festival are promoted in the Pumpkinfest official marketing material, creating added value and awareness for providers. In exchange the Committee asks for a 15% return of the net proceeds earned from the endeavour. "These amounts paid back to the festival help us offset a portion of the costs incurred by the service contracts we offer," said Hunt.

    In 2013 over 40 non-profit and service organizations worked together to raise just under $40,000 for their various projects during the festival and the Committee hopes to see this figure increase in 2014.

    If you are part of an organization that wishes to learn more, please contact Port Elgin Pumpkinfest Headquarters at 519-389-3714.

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  • Pumpkinfest Announces its 2014 Volunteer Committee
    February 13, 2014 | 0 comments

    The Port Elgin Pumpkinfest Volunteer Committee held its first organizational meeting for the 2014 festival on February 10th. As well as some familiar faces which have been helping to plan the festival for many years, the committee is encouraged by the amount of new people that have come forward to help plan one of Ontario's Top 100 Festivals and Events as well as one of the largest festivals in Grey and Bruce Counties.

    Sally Hunt, Pumpkinfest Coordinator said she is very excited and enthusiastic about the new group of planners and sees big changes to come with the 2014 event. "We are really going to focus on a local festival feel this year, right down to site decoration", said Hunt. New decorating contests are planned to have all vendors bring the harvest theme to the festival with their booths at the event. "Over the years, we've kind of lost the feel of what it's all about – pumpkins! I can guarantee you that this year when you walk around the event grounds you are going to be sure to know this is a festival about pumpkins".

    A new culinary attraction is being planned which will highlight local food producers and suppliers. This attraction will be situated at the front of the event in the curling club parking lot with lots of children's activities surrounding this new feature. It is important to the organizers that the festival visitor knows there is local food available and that there are free activities for the kids.

    "We are just in the planning stages of this new attraction but we ask all 'foodies' that may want to help with the organization of this exciting new culinary attraction to contact us and/or join our volunteer committee – the more local people and businesses involved, the more we can build something that our community is proud of", said Hunt. Besides a Special Attraction Director to spearhead this new area, the Committee is also looking for a Weigh-off Tent Director and an Educational Outreach Coordinator to help teach locals about growing giant vegetables. "The more people we can get interested in growing giant vegetables in Grey and Bruce Counties the better – we'd rather see the prize money being awarded to our local growers than sending it outside of the region", said Hunt. There are also spots available on the committee as First Year Directors and Directors at Large. If you are interested in joining the Pumpkinfest Volunteer Committee please contact Pumpkinfest Headquarters at 519-389-3714.

    2014 Volunteer Committee:  (from left to right) Chris Wilkie, Kim Coulter, Lisa Billing, Della Spencer, John Kirkham, Nina McMeekin, Doug Court, Earl Anderson, Ron Knight and Pier Donnini.  Absent:  Rachelle MacKenzie, Terry Ford, Connie Barker and Kaitlyn Shular

    2014 Volunteer Committee: (from left to right) Chris Wilkie, Kim Coulter, Lisa Billing, Della Spencer, John Kirkham, Nina McMeekin, Doug Court, Earl Anderson, Ron Knight and Pier Donnini. Absent: Rachelle MacKenzie, Terry Ford, Connie Barker and Kaitlyn Shular

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