Families flock to Henle Park in Leetsdale for the parks and recreation committee’s first Pumpkin Festival.
The fall event at the corner of Beaver and Ferry streets kicked off Thursday afternoon.
The festivities continue from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Free entry.
There’s a haunted pavilion with big googly eyes, plastic bats and skeletons. The hay maze inside leads to other activities including face and hand painting.
Adrian Degori from Leetsdale brought several family members to the park to celebrate and saw his daughter, Vivia DiNapoli, 2, get a purple butterfly painted on her right hand.
“It’s really good,” Degori said. “My daughter painted her hand with a butterfly, and she loves it. Now we are going to decorate a pumpkin. This is a great idea.”
Parks and Recreation board member Caitlin Gresham volunteered to paint the face and hands.
“We really wanted to give back to the kids in the community and give them something fun to do in the fall, and help raise money for future park programs,” Gresham said.
Corndogs, cotton candy, candy apples, other treats and, of course, pumpkins were available for purchase.
One of the most popular activities on opening day was pumpkin tic-tac-toe. Players grabbed small pumpkins with Xs and O’s and strategically placed them on a black and white table.
Residents Max Napolitano, 7, and his brother, Costa, 3, were very competitive players.
“It’s wonderful,” said their mother, Maria Napolitano, vice-chairman of Leetsdale council. “We were really looking to step up the community events to just welcome everyone into the community. Over the summer we had the movies in the park. Maybe 50 people showed up, which was really great.
“It’s good to see new faces, new residents and young families who have recently moved to the borough. Leetsdale is a bustling place, (and) it really is a pretty park.
Napolitano praised Parks and Recreation Chair Deb Canney and her committee for organizing the festival.
Canney said they spent a few days setting things up. Giant Eagle in Leetsdale donated cupcakes and frosting for a decorating station. Other committee members also contributed by painting wooden cutouts so people could put their heads in different characters for photos.
“It brings our community together,” Canney said. “That’s what it’s about, it’s community. Everyone knows everyone, and if you don’t, you will when you leave.
There are pumpkins of different sizes for purchase. A corn tent sits right next to the exhibit. Kids can crawl inside and choose a prize. Proceeds will go to future events.
More information about Leetsdale’s recreation programs can be found at its Parks and Recreation Facebook page.