Park House gets into the spirit of fall, Halloween with weekend events

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

With a festive ham dinner, which aimed to raise money for Amherstburg’s Park House Museum, and their fourth annual All Hallow’s Eve Festival, the organization was very busy over the weekend.

As a not-for-profit organization, The Park House relies on the support of donations, fundraisers and grants to keep their doors open.

During The Park House Museum’s All Hallows Eve festival, an assortment of foods and treats were being hand-made on the open fireplace all day long. Melissa Vuk speaks to some visitors in the kitchen.

“Each year we hold a fundraiser dinner to help offset programming costs, so that we can maintain quality programming at an affordable price for our visitors,” explained Stephanie Pouget-Papak, curator and administrator the Park House Museum. “Some programs, like the Victorian Christmas, have no set admission fee. In addition, our holiday themed JK – 3 curriculum based field trip season is just a few weeks away, so our fundraising efforts will support the materials and exhibits.”

Pouget-Papak said in the past, heir fundraisers have gone towards specific projects such as conservation and preservation, and not to mention the 200-year plus building never runs short of maintenance. The planning for this year’s annual fundraiser began in July. Saturday evening’s ham dinner also included a 50/50 draw, door prices and light entertainment.

“The Park House Museum fosters the idea of community partnerships and supporting local business,” said Pouget-Papak. “Holding this event at the Legion, whose mission is to serve veterans and their families, as always proved successful and we enjoy working with them.”

While this event took place just down the road, The Park House Museum itself was set up for their All Hallow’s Eve Festival, which took place Sunday. Pouget-Papak said autumn is her favourite time of year and she wanted to host an event that would highlight the season. The event was also created to bridge the gap between the end of summer tourism and the beginning of the holiday events.

Nicholas Robinson explains how to make a hand-made candle to Tea Fields during the All Hallows Eve Festival Sunday.

“The main idea behind this event is to provide a setting for people of all ages to enjoy the traditional Halloween season without all the ‘gore,’ and it is appropriate for young families as well,” said Pouget-Papak. “We have the site, both buildings, fully operational with the help of dedicated volunteers. Each visitor has the opportunity to participate in the questionnaire scavenger hunt, where they have the option to engage with the staff to ask questions or to read the information boards on their own.”

New to this year’s event was the recital of eerie story telling in the afternoon on Sunday by Olwyn Coughlin. They also had members of the Kings 8th regiment come in from Michigan to set up and Revolutionary War Surgeon display. Pouget-Papak explained each year they try to add a new component to enhance the visitor’s experience.

“We have maintained the visitor favourites like the 1920’s Halloween Party, the Victorian Funeral, and of course the cooking demonstration,” said Pouget-Papak. “Events such as this are important because it allows people the opportunity to connect with our past in an enjoyable manner; public history takes the subject outside of the realm of academia, and facilitates the opportunity to experience it through touch, sight and sound. Individuals may not remember every detail or fact, but they will remember that it was an enjoyable experience.”

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