Sam Thomas

Western Secondary’s annual “Pumpkinfest” draws big crowds

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

An annual tradition at Western Secondary School resumed last weekend with hundreds passing through the school’s hallways to support it.

“Pumpkinfest” was held Saturday and Sunday with people from around the Windsor-Essex County area converging on the local high school to purchase from the wide variety of craft and food vendors.

Western Secondary School students not only welcomed people to Pumpkinfest, they also collected goods for the school’s can drive. Front row (from left) Bryanna Fahringer and Myron Bennett. Back row (from left): Anthony Quiring, Trenton Breault and Duncan Phelps.

“We’re full this year,” said Sam Thomas, one of the Western Secondary teachers that helped organize the weekend event. “We have our regulars and we have some new ones this year.”
Some of the vendors also included Western students themselves, as a number of crafts and goodies made by the students were on sale.

“Everything’s great,” Thomas reported. “Everyone is happy.”

The gymnasium (shown here) and the hallways at Western Secondary School were packed with crafters and craft lovers as part of the Oct. 28-29 Pumpkinfest at Western Secondary School.

Over 100 students, or roughly one-quarter of the school’s population, helped volunteer. They joined staff members, former staff members and Western graduates in helping out.

“It makes it so nice,” said Thomas. “I don’t think there’s many places that happens.”

With so many former staff and students coming by the school for Pumpkinfest, Thomas joked that “I get lots of hugs this weekend.”

Western Secondary School students had their own crafts and artwork for sale as part of the Oct. 28-29 “Pumpkinfest.” The event is a fundraiser for the high school.

Money raised goes back into the school with Thomas stating that it helps pay for field trips, events and special guests. She added that she starts work on Pumpkinfest in May with bookings being accepted starting every June.

Janet Arnold shows one of the knitted items she had for at Pumpkinfest.

The students also enjoyed the event. Many were gathered by the main entrance collecting for the school’s can drive with student Anthony Quiring saying that the event allows them to represent their school to visitors.

“It’s awesome,” said Quiring. “I’m happy. We worked really hard.”

Feedback was positive, the students agreed.

“We’ve heard really good things,” said Quiring. “(The public) likes it here and we’re doing a good job.”

Josh Fex and Jaclyn Hertel look at some of the items for sale at Pumpkinfest.

Janet Arnold was one of the 110 vendors on site and was selling various knitted goods.

“I’ve been coming here for quite a few years now,” said Arnold. “I’ve got quite a few people who come back each year.”

Western Secondary’s “Pumpkinfest” a hit again this year

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A tradition over three decades old continued last weekend at Western Secondary School and it appears to have been a hit once again.

Western’s annual “Pumpkinfest” was held with a packed house of vendors, artists and the general public turning out. Samantha Thomas, a teacher at Western Secondary, said the event started long before she began teaching at the school 22 years ago.

This year’s event went “really well,” she stated.

Andrew Wiebe stands with some of his artwork that he had for sale on the weekend at Western Secondary School. Wiebe was one of 110 vendors that participated at Western’s annual “Pumpkinfest” fundraiser. Proceeds benefit student activities at the school.

Andrew Wiebe stands with some of his artwork that he had for sale on the weekend at Western Secondary School. Wiebe was one of 110 vendors that participated at Western’s annual “Pumpkinfest” fundraiser. Proceeds benefit student activities at the school.

“We are full of vendors and it looks like full of customers as well,” said Thomas, during the two-day event.

Pumpkinfest started out as an auction, she said, and evolved into a craft show. A total of 110 vendors participated both Saturday and Sunday and Thomas added there is a waiting list of vendors wanting to get in next year.

“It’s our biggest fundraiser. All the proceeds go towards student activities,” said Thomas.

The event typically raises about $7,000 from the vendors but booths run by different departments generate additional revenue, she added.

“Every department is making money,” said Thomas.

The majority of students helped in some way, she added, whether it be in one of the booths, selling their own artwork, volunteering to collect canned goods, directing traffic in the parking lot, setting up tables or performing another necessary project to ensure the event ran smoothly.

Lexie Fraser and Nathan Bezaire sell coffee and treats during Pumpkinfest at Western Secondary School.

Lexie Fraser and Nathan Bezaire sell coffee and treats during Pumpkinfest at Western Secondary School.

“They see the school in a different light. That’s the part I like,” said Thomas.

Andrew Wiebe was one of the students that participated as he was selling some of the paintings he has created over the years. Wiebe, 16, estimated he sold about a dozen paintings. He has been painting since he was seven-years-old.

“It’s relaxing, it’s fun,” said Wiebe. “If there is a picture I like, I’ll paint it.”

Other Western students were busy collecting cans and donations for area food banks, as well as their school. Two of those students included Duncan Phelps and Hailey Hunter with Phelps working at his fifth Pumpkinfest and Hunter at her first.

“It’s packed,” said Hunter, of the amount of people that came into the school.

Phelps said that while the cans will go to food banks, monetary donations assist the school’s adaptive and food programs.

Duncan Phelps and Hailey Hunter collected  donations near the entrance to Pumpkinfest.

Duncan Phelps and Hailey Hunter collected
donations near the entrance to Pumpkinfest.

Both Phelps and Hunter said they liked the social aspect of the event as well, with Phelps stating he gets to reconnect with people.

“I like it because I can say hello to a lot of people,” he said.

“You can see a lot of people you haven’t seen for a while,” added Hunter, adding it is a good way to get volunteer hours towards graduation as well.

One of the vendors from the community was Kelly O’Rourke, who brought her work from her “Lake Bottom Art” creations.

“I’ve never been here before so it’s neat to be here,” said O’Rourke.

The gymnasium (pictured) and hallways at Western Secondary School were busy Oct. 29-30 as the school's annual Pumpkinfest was held.

The gymnasium (pictured) and hallways at Western Secondary School were busy Oct. 29-30 as the school’s annual Pumpkinfest was held.

It was only the third show for O’Rourke, with Art by the River being her first. She heard good things about Pumpkinfest so she decided to contact Western Secondary and go to the school.

“It’s great cause as well,” she said.

Lake Bottom Art is new, O’Rourke added, “but it’s a lot of fun. You collect all the glass and all of the stones and then you have to come up with a design.”