Annual Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest, Skeleton Invasion combine for fall fun

  • All-you-can-carve pumpkin stations will be set up as part of the Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest. Guests can also bring their own pumpkins to place on the pumpkin walls.

    All-you-can-carve pumpkin stations will be set up as part of the Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest. Guests can also bring their own pumpkins to place on the pumpkin walls. Courtesy of Ripple Public Relations

 
Submitted by Ripple Public Relations
Posted10/6/2021 6:01 AM

After The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest was canceled in 2020, the community still celebrated the season with 300 life-size skeletons descending upon town to entertain locals and visitors alike.

This year, the Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest is back, combined with The Great Highwood Skeleton Invasion to create a collaborative community event for all ages.

 

Skeletons began invading Highwood the weekend of Oct. 1 to get the community geared up for the Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest, which takes placed Oct. 8-10. Festival hours are 4-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

"With COVID-19 still very much a big concern, we have chosen to structure a more interactive event throughout town in order to encourage community engagement and support of businesses," said Brad Slavin, president of Celebrate Highwood, the not-for-profit organization that hosts The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest.

"Instead of closing down the streets as we've done in previous years and creating crowds, we've chosen to spread the event throughout town and into our newly renovated Everts Park. Many elements of Pumpkin Fest will still be in place, but with more spacing we can avoid too much crowding and allow people to mill about in comfort and ease."

The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest will return Oct. 8-10, with a Community Appreciation Night Oct. 7 with rides, music, food, three Great Pumpkin Walls to display hundreds of jack-o'-lanterns, and more.
The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest will return Oct. 8-10, with a Community Appreciation Night Oct. 7 with rides, music, food, three Great Pumpkin Walls to display hundreds of jack-o'-lanterns, and more. - Courtesy of Ripple Public Relations
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The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest's main grounds will be located at the newly renovated Everts Park, 111 North Ave., with partial street closure of Highwood Avenue on the south and North Avenue on the north, where one of three Great Pumpkin Walls will be located and lit nightly.

The band shell in Everts Park will be the main event stage and host three days of live music. There will be plenty of food vendors and a full bar, as well as an all-you-can-carve pumpkin station, haunted hay rides and a zip line, giving attendees a chance to capture an overhead view of the Great Pumpkin Walls.

City Hall Park, 17 Highwood Ave., will be transformed into The Great Highwood Pumpkin Patch with all-you-can-carve pumpkins, artisan craft vendors, three days of interactive DJ dancing and local musician showcases, all contests, including the pet and kids costume and pumpkin pie eating contests, as well as a full bar.

Another Great Pumpkin Wall will be located on Highwood Avenue, directly across from City Hall Park, where attendees are invited to place their carved pumpkins for the nightly lightings. The third Great Pumpkin Wall and carving station will be at 424 Sheridan Road, across from Buffo's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
After replacing the Pumpkinfest last year, the second Great Highwood Skeleton Invasion will take place alongside the Pumpkinfest this year, with life-size skeleton vignettes on display.
After replacing the Pumpkinfest last year, the second Great Highwood Skeleton Invasion will take place alongside the Pumpkinfest this year, with life-size skeleton vignettes on display. - Courtesy of Ripple Public Relations

Aside from these three designated areas, Highwood will be full of interactive skeleton displays, pumpkin walls and carving stations set up at businesses throughout town.

"Our inaugural Great Highwood Skeleton Invasion was so enthusiastically received that we will be keeping the vignettes on display well after Pumpkin Fest for people to come out and see through Halloween," Slavin said.

"We loved seeing all the people coming out and posing for photos and taking the time to stroll the streets of Highwood to find skeletons on display at all the local businesses."

As in previous years, attendees can also look forward to carnival rides, games, food and an adult beverage in the Highwood Metra Station parking lot.

The skeletons in the Great Highwood Skeleton Invasion, like these Wizard of Oz skeletons, will be on display through Halloween.
The skeletons in the Great Highwood Skeleton Invasion, like these Wizard of Oz skeletons, will be on display through Halloween. - Courtesy of Ripple Public Relations

All jack-o'-lanterns will be placed on the Great Pumpkin Walls, with ceremonial wall lightings Friday and Saturday nights and the grand lighting Sunday evening.

"The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest has always been an amazing family fall tradition, and we are thrilled to be able to hold it again," Slavin said.

"While we are not asking for entry fees this year, we are still a nonprofit organization and encourage attendees to make a contribution and donate to our beneficiary, the Highland Park High School Charity Drive."

Donations can be made at one of three Celebrate Highwood Pumpkin Fest bars, on-site through QR codes, or online at www.celebratehighwood.org.

Festival organizers are also inviting the community to Bring-Your-Own-Pumpkin to place directly on a pumpkin wall.

To recognize the community as an integral part in pulling this event off, Celebrate Highwood is hosting a Community Appreciation Night from 5-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7. With a relaxed atmosphere, this preview night features three all-you-can-carve pumpkin stations, live music and bar at City Hall Park, and a full carnival with rides, games and food. Highwood restaurants, businesses and bars will be open as well.

For a full music lineup and schedule, visit www.HighwoodPumpkinFest.com.

• • •

Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest

The festival will include a Community Appreciation Night Oct. 7 and the full festival Oct. 8-10. Most events take place at Everts Park, 111 North Ave.; City Hall Park, 17 Highwood Ave.; and the Highwood Metra Station, 317 Green Bay Road, Highwood.

Thursday, Oct. 7

5-9 p.m. Three all-you-can-carve pumpkin stations at Everts Park, City Hall Park and at 424 Sheridan Road, with live music and full bar at City Hall Park

5-9 p.m. Unlimited carnival ride special, $25 per person

Friday, Oct. 8

4 p.m. Festival opens: food and artisan craft vendors, all-you-can-carve pumpkin stations, Haunted Hay Rides, zip line and more.

4-11 p.m. Live music at Everts Park and City Hall Park

4-6 p.m. Trick-or-treating throughout festival grounds

5-10 p.m. Carnival rides and games

5:30-9:30 p.m. Prime time carnival ride special, $30 per person

6 p.m. Scare Run 5K Run from Everts Park

7:45 p.m. HPHS Charity Drive announcement on Main Stage at Everts Park and ceremonial Wall Lighting

11 p.m. Festival close

Saturday, Oct. 9

11 a.m. Festival opens: food and artisan craft vendors, all-you-can carve pumpkin stations, Haunted Hay Rides, zip line and more.

11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Live music at Everts Park

1-10 p.m. Carnival rides and games

1-5 p.m. Unlimited carnival ride special, $25 per person

5:30-9:30 p.m. Prime time carnival ride special, $30 per person

7-11 p.m. Live music at City Hall Park

8 p.m. HPHS Charity Drive announcement on Main Stage at Everts Park and ceremonial Wall Lighting

11 p.m. Festival close

Sunday, Oct. 10

11 a.m. Festival opens: food and artisan craft vendors, all-you-can carve pumpkin stations, Haunted Hay Rides, zip line and more.

11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Live music at Everts Park

1-9 p.m. Carnival rides and games

1-5 p.m. Unlimited carnival ride special, $25 per person

Noon Pet costume contest at City Hall Park Stage

1 p.m. Kids costume contest at City Hall Park Stage

2 p.m. Pumpkin pie eating contest at City Hall Park Stage

3-9 p.m. Live music at City Hall Park

7 p.m. HPHS Charity Drive announcement on Main Stage at Everts Park and ceremonial Wall Lighting

9 p.m. Festival closes

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