PROSPECT — The town’s annual Pumpkin Festival will return for a tenth year Saturday.
The festival kicks off at 4 p.m. Oct. 19 on the Town Green with music and vendors.
One of those vendors will be 10-year-old Jake Veillette of Prospect. Veillette will be selling homemade crafts to raise money for the Smilow and Leever Cancer Centers.
This will be the third year that Veillette will be raising money for the centers by selling crafts at the festival.
“Its kind of fun to do because I like all the people’s looks on their faces when they see all the stuff,” Veillette said. “I also like the look on the women’s faces when we donated to them.”
Laurie Veillette, Jake’s mother, said that Jake donates all the money he earns at the fair directly to the two centers. To date he has donated approximately $800, she said.
Laurie Veillette said Jake decided to start this fundraiser after he was hospitalized twice, once when he was 5 and again two years ago, for a kidney infection.
“He was just so happy to get out of the hospital,” Laurie Veillette said. “He was feeling bad for the children that were sick and didn’t get to come home.”
Jake Veillette said he chose Smilow Cancer Center because of his experiences with the hospital.
“First of all I donated it to Smilow because it was incorporated with Yale and I like Yale Hospital because they took care of me well,” Jake Veillette said.
Jake Veillette said he began donating to Leever Cancer Center after his aunt was diagnosed with cancer.
As a fifth-grader at Community School, Jake Veillette will also have a pumpkin on display at the festival.
Mayor Robert Chatfield said students in Prospect from kindergarten through eighth grade are given a pumpkin to decorate for the festival.
“We give every student at Community, Algonquin, and Long River a pumpkin,” Chatfield said. “There will be approximately 1,500 pumpkins on display.”
Judging will take place at 6:30 p.m. and prizes will be given out in multiple categories for the pumpkins.
The festival will also feature a parade with marching bands, floats, orange vehicles, farm tractors and people in costume.
Chatfield said the parade will begin to line up at 5 p.m. on Chandler Drive, next to the Naugatuck Saving Bank. The parade will step off at approximately 5:45 p.m. heading towards the town. As the parade passes Town Hall children who are in costume will join in and march over to the Green where the parade will conclude. The parade is open for everyone with an orange car, farm tractor or costume, he said.
“We urge all kids and anybody who wants to come in costume to join in the parade and walk around the green,” Chatfield said.
In addition the festival will feature live music by The Go To, a haunted house, and a hay bale maze. There will also be a hay bale rolling contest for adults and children. The top prize for adults is $500.
The event is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, Prospect Parks and Recreation, and the Mayor’s Office. Chatfield urged people to come out for the festival and enjoy themselves before the weather begins to turn cold.
“It’s the last social event before winter,” Chatfield said.
For more information, visit www.townofprospect.org.