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In Easthampton, time for the Pumpkin Festival and Rag Shag Parade

Children and their parents walk in the annual Rag Shag Parade in Easthampton in 2008. 


Children and their parents walk in the annual Rag Shag Parade in Easthampton in 2008. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Purchase photo reprints »

Both events in the coming weeks seem to be growing in popularity, said Samantha Pliska of the Parks and Recreation Department, which puts on the Halloween-themed events.

The Pumpkin Festival Saturday afternoon is the newer of the two, in its third year. Pliska said she hopes it will one day be as traditional and well attended as the decades-old Rag Shag Parade, which takes place Oct. 29 this year.

“It gets bigger and better every year and I think it’s something the town really enjoys,” she said of the festival, which will be held in Nonotuck Park from noon to 6 p.m. Last year, about 250 people attended the festival and 50 pumpkins were entered in the pumpkin carving contest.

Pliska called the contest “the most exciting part” of the festival. Pumpkins are not provided at the event, but people are invited to bring their own carved pumpkins to compete for trophies and prizes in the categories of scariest, funniest, cutest and most original.

Also on the agenda for the day is a pie baking contest, a pie eating contest and live polka music provided by Mark VI Polka from 1 to 3 p.m. Food, crafts and gifts will be for sale and there will be face painting, a bounce house and other activities for kids.

The Yappy Valley Dog Show, a fundraiser for Easthampton High School programs and events, will also take place in Nonotuck Park from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Entry to the park and the festival is free. The rain date is Sunday.

Pliska said it’s hard to say how long the Rag Shag parade of costumed kids has been going on for, but she guessed at least 30 years. “I did it as a kid,” she said.

The children, along with some costumed parents, will begin marching from Maple Street School at 6:30 p.m. and end at The Williston Northampton School quadrangle on Park Street, where there will be treats and a performance by dancers from the Hackworth School of Performing Arts. The rain date for the parade is Oct. 30.

At last year’s parade, Parks and Recreation Department employees gave out bags for collecting candy to 1,000 children, Pliska said.

More information about the events is available atfacebook.com/easthampton.parknrec or by contacting the Parks and Recreation Department at 529-1440.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

Legacy Comments1

Hate to admit it, but the Rag Shag Parade was in place for a lot more than the past 30 years. As a freshman at EHS, and in the HS Band, I recall that being the very first parade we marched in. It was almost like a warm up for the Veterans Day Parade, and that was 1966. Glad to see it still going on.

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