Milford Pumpkin Fest moves forward with virtual offerings

MILFORD – It won’t be the same, as their Facebook asserts.

Still, the Milford Pumpkin Festival will present virtual musical acts this weekend, with Chris Roberts kicking things off on Friday night at 7 p.m.

Entertainment coordinator Zoe Lantaff said the Granite Town Festivities Committee has been planning a “virtual fest” since COVID-19 threw a proverbial wrench in the works back in March.

“Typically, when we’re planning the pumpkin fest, we start at the beginning of the year, because there is so much involved,” she said. “With so many aspects needing attention early in the year, we had already started planning the traditional fest.”

Committee members and volunteers had already begun working on projects, and when March arrived with news of the pandemic, much thought and consideration went into what would be the logistical next step.

“By having meetings, Zoom and otherwise, we went to the town board meetings and by the end of May, we realized it wouldn’t be feasible to have a public gathering event,” Lantaff said.

“Because there are so many people involved and we didn’t know what was going to happen, we had to make a decision before June and contact anybody who had already begun sending in vendor fees.”

While they decided to not go forward with the traditional event, the committee wanted to keep the spirit of the festival alive by having a virtual fest this year.

“We were trying our best,” Lantaff said. “And I thought it was going to be easy. And it wasn’t. I had a game plan and the timing of everything. We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to pull it off.”

Lantaff said that musicians would be video recorded and everyone seemed to be on board with that concept.

This weekend, the Pumpkin Fest has a full entertainment menu of music acts beginning Friday night and running through Sunday afternoon.

Friday night, Oct. 9: Chris Roberts, 7 p.m., My Pal, 7:30 p.m., and The New Englanders, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 10: PHILEEP, 2 p.m., Brothers in Arms, 2:30 p.m., Din Din, 3 p.m., Crescendo’s Gate, 3:30 p.m., The Fitzmurphys, 4 p.m., Pop Farmers, 4:30 p.m., Union Roots, 5 p.m., Justin Jordan, 5:30 p.m., Paul Driscoll, 6 p.m., and Brett Wilson, 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 11: Chris Roberts, 9 a.m., My Pal, 9:30 a.m., The New Englanders, 10 a.m., PHILEEP, 10:30 a.m., Brothers in Arms, 11 a.m., Din Din, 11:30 a.m., Crescendo’s Gate, 12 p.m., The Fitzmurphys, 12:30 p.m., Pop Farmers, 1 p.m., Union Roots, 1:30 p.m., Justin Jordan, 2 p.m., Paul Driscoll, 2:30 p.m., and Brett Wilson, 3 p.m.

“The videos will be uploaded to the Milford Pumpkin Festival Facebook page, at www.milfordpumpkinfestival.org, and also on Granite Town Media, through YouTube,” Lantaff said. “This year, we’re also having our variety show and people will be able to view that as well through social media.”

The toughest part about having a virtual fest is not being able to offer a gathering with food vendors.

“That’s one of the biggest pieces right there,” Lantaff said. “Wade Campbell took over the vendor coordinating. We had most spots already filled this year, we started that early. So, Wade contacted everyone there and we had to refund their money.”

That is a huge component to the festival and its popularity, Lantaff added.

“It’s not just the food, it’s homemade craft wares too,” she said. “That is having a huge impact. And sponsors – we don’t even have that level of sponsorship this year because of everything that has happened.”

The tent vendors also had to be cancelled.

“This is the 31st annual Milford Pumpkin festival, and we’re just trying to keep the spirit alive,” Lantaff said. “Eric Escobar from Wicked Ways usually does a mural and he has his boards set up at Chip Pollard’s new place Station 101, which will be opening soon.”

Lantaff remarked that Milford has a strong sense of community that won’t be diminished by this year’s health crisis or the multiple turns of events.

“People want to participate,” she said. “They get excited about things that are happening in this town. And the fact that Eric is still going to paint that mural is a big deal. We need visuals. That’s our way of saying we’re not going to give up.”