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Pumpkin festival brings community together for entertainment and remembrance

By Michael Ganzman
Downtown Mountain City was covered in straw and littered with pumpkins last Saturday. These fall-themed decorations signaled the start of the Mountain City Pumpkin Festival, an event that has not been held in town for several years.
A group of local business owners, including Amanda Musselwhite, owner of Simple Blessings, asked the Mountain City government to approve the request to have the Pumpkin Festival in town this year, to which the council unanimously voted “yes” in August.
After receiving approval, festival organizers started scouting new and exciting attractions to come the event.
“[We wanted] to draw in vendors not here before,” Musselwhite said. “We’re trying to revitalize an old event but with a new twist.”
With less than two months to set up the event, organizers rallied local small business owners and citizens of Mountain City to help pay for the festival, making it a mostly grassroots effort without large corporate sponsorship.
“We have been very discouraged by the lack of support from our local corporations,” Musselwhite said. “But I have been very pleased with the general public’s response [in helping with the festival].”
The festival was designed to entertain and strived to offer something for everyone.
For children, there were activities like face painting and cookie decoration. Kids also had the chance to meet and have their picture made with Hambone the Clown or to ride the miniature Choo Choo train that made its way up and down Main Street.
For teens, there were crafts stores, like Panda Bunny, which sells jewelry with designs from TV and video games, and booths that were full of every sweet food you can imagine, including funnel cake, giant peanut butter cookies and deep-fried apple fritters.
Shopping for parents was also available, as one booth featured a variety of quilts for young children, including a crocheted Dora the Explorer one hanging on a rack in the display.
And nearly everyone could enjoy the musical performances by Country Crossroads and the elaborate designs of scarecrows made to look like celebrities. The Donald Trump one was especially popular.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.