Pumpkinfest 2015: Don’t Miss The Costume Contests!

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The highlight of Franklin’s fall season is just around the corner and it’s time for both people and pets to dust off their Halloween best.

One of Pumpkinfest’s favorite traditions, the costume contests for both humans and pets, will be held on the Heritage Stage on the Public Square beginning at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, October 24. Contests will be held in the following categories: Ages 0-2, 3-5, 6-11, and 12+. There is also a category for groups. Pumpkinfest sponsor HomeTown Pet will be sponsoring the pet costume contest.

Signups for humans will be next to the Heritage Stage on the Public Square from 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., with a $2 entry fee. Signups for the HomeTown Pet Costume Contest will be at the HomeTown Pet booth, #26, on the Public Square, with no entry fee. All entrants must be signed up by 1:30 p.m.

Prizes for people will be provided by Vintage Baby, For Every Child, and Sweet CeCe’s. HomeTown Pet will be providing prizes for the pet costume contest.

For more information on the costume contests and Pumpkinfest, go here.

32nd Annual Pumpkinfest Features Old Favorites, Traditions

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Franklin’s favorite fall celebration is returning to Main Street Saturday, Oct. 24, with an all-day celebration that brings free and festive fun for a variety of ages and groups.

The 32nd Annual Pumpkinfest, held in the community’s historic core, attracts tens of thousands of visitors to downtown Franklin each year. Presented by Hyundai of Cool Springs and coordinated by the Heritage Foundation, the festivities will stretch along Main Street and its connecting avenues from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

“Thanks to Hyundai of Cool Springs and our other generous sponsors, we’re able to bring back old favorites and offer some new, exciting attractions too,” said Rene Evans, Pumpkinfest manager. “Our festival partnership with Hyundai aligned perfectly–both Pumpkinfest and the dealership have a mission to be family friendly, and serve the community’s best interests.”

In addition to the dozens of artisan vendors and two stages of live entertainment, attendees can expect to enjoy some of the festival’s favorite traditions for the 2015 event – including a costume contest sponsored by HomeTown Pet, the Church of the City’s Kids’ Zone and the Franklin Tomorrow Chili Cook Off. Plus, The Great Pumpkin will again be making an appearance after a long journey from Carleton Place, Canada (Franklin’s Sister City).

Other activities and details in this year’s Pumpkinfest schedule include:

· Third Avenue South will be transformed with bouncy houses, pony rides, face painting, games, a dedicated preschool area and much more for the Church of the City Kids’ Zone from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

· Two stages will feature full lineups of music and dance performances. In addition to the stage on the Public Square, a second stage will be located on Main Street at First Avenue, near Landmark Booksellers. The highlight of the afternoon is anticipated to be The ConSoulers, who will take the First Avenue stage at 4 p.m. for a two-hour street dance.

· Costume contests, sponsored by HomeTown Pet, will be held on the stage at the Public Square for both humans and pets.

· Nashville-based circus group Beyond Wings will perform Halloween-themed aerial arts on the corner of Second Avenue and Main.

· More than 80 independent artisan booths with handmade wares will line Main Street from Second to Fifth Avenue.

· Festival fare like corn dogs, funnel cakes, fried catfish and chicken tenders will join fresh offerings in two dedicated food zones: around the Public Square and on Fourth Avenue South.

· A beer tent will be located near the stage on First Avenue.

· The Franklin Tomorrow Chili Cook Off will take place on Third Avenue North. For more information, go to www.franklintomorrow.org.

· After dark, Franklin’s historic cemeteries will come to life with first-person stories of some of the folks buried there. For more information, go to www.franklinonfoot.com.

In addition to parking in and around the downtown area, a parking and shuttle service for Pumpkinfest attendees will be available from Church of the City and Harlinsdale Farm for $1 per person each way.

In addition to Pumpkinfest, the Heritage Foundation–in conjunction with the Downtown Franklin Association–produces seven event series and festivals each year to attract visitors to downtown Franklin, and to promote the benefits of historic preservation.

Since 1967 the non-profit group has been dedicated to protecting and preserving Williamson County’s historic, architectural and geographic resources; in short, saving the places that matter. For more information, call (615) 591-8500.


Volunteers Who Make An Impact: Josh and Susan Denton

If you attended the 31st Annual Pumpkinfest last Saturday, you know it was one for the books! Drawing a crowd of more than 40,000 people, the Heritage Foundation rallied the troops to produce a bigger, better and more entertaining street festival than ever before.

The 2014 event marked another first: as a result of the year’s board retreat, each Foundation-produced festival will now be driven by staff and supported by chairmen, similar to the annual Heritage Ball.

Foundation board member Josh Denton and his wife, Susan, acted as the Pumpkinfest’s first chairs, going above and beyond to help staff members Rene’ Evans and Krista Dial throw one of the largest street parties of the year. The pair was approached in the spring to spearhead the initiative, and supported the Pumpkinfest team with creative ideas, scheduling, entertainment, sponsorships and more.

Prior to the festival the Dentons also hosted a ribbon cutting breakfast, where sponsors event organizers and city officials were thanked. The best part? Susan cooked much of the morning spread herself!

Josh, whose family hasn’t missed a Pumpkinfest in 10 years, says that the value of the free event lies in its family-centered fun.

“This festival is a wonderful opportunity to showcase historic Franklin and all that it has to offer, especially during such a beautiful time of the year,” he says. “It’s great to be able to give back to the community by offering a fantastic—and free—experience for families throughout Middle Tennessee.”

Thank you, Josh and Susan, for using your time and resources to help further the Foundation’s mission in saving the places that matter!

The Dentons would like to give a big “thank you” to the 2014 Pumpkinfest sponsors: Sponsors for the 2014 Pumpkinfest include Bethel University; Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin, Attorneys at Law; Monroe Carrel Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt; Williamson Medical Center; Hyundai Leaf Filter; Patterson Company; The People’s Church; Children’s and Adolescent Dentistry of Franklin School of Rock; Schroder Chiropractic; Bob Parks Realty; City of Franklin; and the Downtown Franklin Association (DFA).

31st Annual Pumpkinfest Returns! Join us Oct. 25, 2014

Pumpkinfest (19)Franklin’s favorite fall celebration is returning to Main Street this month, and this time it’s bigger and better than ever.

The 31st annual Pumpkinfest will take place on Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., bringing a full day of free entertainment to families in the area. Presented by the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County, the festival will stretch along Main Street from First to Fifth avenues, and will also include portions of Third and Fourth avenues. Attendees can expect a day of live music, various contests, an array of arts and crafts booths, a chili cook-off and much more.

In addition, The Great Pumpkin will be making an appearance at Pumpkinfest after traveling across the country from Franklin’s sister city, Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada. Festivalgoers will have the chance to participate in a “Guess the Weight” contest where one lucky winner will take home a $50 gift certificate to Stroud’s Barbecue.

Other activities at this year’s Pumpkinfest include:

  • Two stages offering continuous entertainment from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.
  • The Bethel University stage at City Hall will feature five performance groups from Bethel’s Renaissance program: two bluegrass bands, a Southern gospel quartet, a 15-voice group and a 55-member choir.
  • The School of Rock stage at Five Points will feature a variety of local performance schools and regional groups.
  • Then at 5 p.m. on the School of Rock stage, The People’s Church will present theBattle of the Bands, a competition between four teenage bands—the winner will go home with a cash prize of $500. For band audition information, email Danielle at dberg@thepeopleschurch.org.
  • A vibrant children’s area, presented by The People’s Church, will be located on Third Avenue South and will include pumpkin painting, free games, pony and train rides, inflatables and more.
  • A separate area of attractions for older children will be available on Fourth Avenue North, and will feature bungee jumping, a mechanical bull and a spider web mountain.
  • More than 80 arts and crafts booths will feature unique, handcrafted wares that complement fall and the holiday season including jewelry, food and home décor items. Booths will be open along Main Street from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Over a dozen food vendors will be selling traditional street festival favorites like corn dogs and hot dogs, barbecue, funnel cakes and kettle corn, as well as fresh bagels, gourmet coffee, fish tacos and jambalaya.
  • A community swing dance will commence at 4:45 p.m. on the Public Square to the sounds of 5 Points Swing. Unsure of your swing dance skills?  Local dancers will be there to warm you up with brief instructions before the band starts up.
  • The Franklin Tomorrow Chili Cook-Off will feature 15 teams competing for the 12th annual title. A $10 ticket includes a 2 oz. sample from each team, and beer will be available for purchase in conjunction with the Chili Cook-Off. The tent will be located on Third Avenue North, where competitors will be serving from 10:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.
  • An extreme pumpkin carving contest will feature the Leiper’s Fork Carving Club and their work. The public will have a chance to vote on their favorite carved pumpkin, plus the opportunity to purchase one via silent auction.
  • Children, adults and even pets can compete in four categories during the annual costume contest. The categories are: pets; children, ages 0-2; 3-5; 6-11; 12+ and groups. Registration is limited to the first 40 entrants in each category and includes a $2 entry fee. Those who wish to participate can sign-up from 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. near the Bethel University Renaissance stage at City Hall. Competition will begin at 2 p.m.
  • Offsite parking will be available at both Harlinsdale Park and The People’s Church, with trolley rides to downtown for $1 per person each way, which will run from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Pets and strollers are not permitted on the trolleys.

Pumpkinfest is produced by the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County and its division, the Downtown Franklin Association. The annual October festival is just one of the many activities presented by the non-profit group, which was founded in 1967 to protect and preserve Williamson County’s historic, architectural and geographic resources. For more information, call 615-591-8500!

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Pumpkinfest Brings Fun For All The Children!

pumpkinfestFun news for families out there! After a four-year hiatus, the Heritage Foundation is thrilled to announce that The People’s Church will be back as the lead sponsor of the children’s activity area for Pumpkinfest 2014!

From 2004 to 2009, The People’s Church was one of the most important components of Pumpkinfest when they coordinated all the free children’s activities on Third Avenue South.

“We are delighted to announce that they are back with us again this year and will again be devoting their considerable talents and energies into providing Franklin families with a full day of fall-themed fun in downtown Franklin. The games and activities they provide are an invaluable contribution to Pumpkinfest,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation.

Pumpkinfest, a free street festival along Main Street and on some of the side streets, is one of the Heritage Foundation’s signature events. Scheduled for October 25 this year, the event will feature not only the free children’s activity area sponsored by the church, but also costume contests, music and entertainment on two stages and on various locations on the street, an extreme pumpkin carving contest, arts and crafts vendors, a chili cook-off, and other fall-themed fun.

So mark your calendars! It’s gonna be a fun one. Learn more here.

National Recognition Keeps Coming For Downtown Franklin

photo by Jill Zientek
photo by Jill Zientek

Travel + Leisure Names Franklin One of “America’s Favorite Towns” and More

FRANKLIN, Tenn.– Travel + Leisure Magazine has named Franklin, Tennessee one of “America’s Favorite Towns,” following an online readers’ poll conducted last month. Coming in at #8 on the list, Franklin was included among other popular small-town tourism destinations such as Park City, Utah; Telluride, Colo.; and Amelia Island, Fla.

“There’s a festival for virtually every month of the year hosted in 18th-century Franklin’s brick-paved downtown—named among the country’s best by the National Trust for Historic Preservation,” the Travel + Leisure entry reads. “You might sample beer and Irish whiskey at the Main Street Brew Fest each March or bluegrass fiddling in late July, or join a Dickens-themed Christmas celebration. The town also ranked No. 3 for Christmas lights.”

The honor follows another T + L shout out, announced just last week: the publication ranked Franklin as the #18 on the “America’s Best Towns for Halloween“–citing the 30th Annual Pumpkinfest, Franklin Tomorrow’s Chili Cook-off, tour company Franklin on Foot’s actor-led ghost tours, and the Lotz House Civil War museum as viable reasons to journey to Franklin for the fall holiday. Poll results also show that readers voted Franklin the #7 “Friendliest Town in America.”

“These kinds of honors are a great reward for the efforts of so many people who work to make Franklin such a great place to live and work. Our Main Street program’s success is largely attributable to the business owners, and the passion they have for our community,” said Nancy Williams, Downtown Franklin Association (DFA) director. “It’s encouraging to continue to see Franklin being recognized as an authentic, eclectic place that offers something for everyone. Like we always say around here, downtown Franklin is 14 miles and 100 years from Nashville.”

In 1995, Franklin was honored as one of five “Great American Main Streets” in the inaugural annual competition held by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Since then, it has been recognized by various outlets with titles including “Best Small Town in Tennessee,” “America’s Most Romantic Main Street,” “One of America’s Greatest Antique Destinations,” and “Best Places to Visit for Historic Preservation,” among others.

The DFA works in partnership with its members and the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County to protect and preserve the city’s cultural resources, and continues to help spearhead the revitalization of Franklin’s historic downtown core. Together, the two non-profit organizations organize and promote several festivals and happenings each year, including the upcoming Dickens of a Christmas, Dec. 14-15. For more information about the DFA’s work and the events it coordinates, go to www.downtownfranklintn.com.

To view Travel + Leisure‘s “America’s Favorite Towns” poll results, go to www.travelandleisure.com/toc.