Millville's Great Pumpkin Festival will be held a bit earlier than usual this year, but for a very good reason.

The festival is set for Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The site of the festival has also changed. This year, it will be held on the grounds of the future town park on Dukes Drive.

In order to hold the festival on the park property, the date was moved to a little earlier in the fall, because construction of the park is slated to begin in the coming weeks.

Millville Town Clerk Matt Amerling said the festival will feature music by the Funsters throughout the day. Local artist John Donato will be on hand to help visitors paint a piece of art that will be displayed either in the community building that will be built on the park property or in the Town's municipal building.

Donato is currently working on a mural in the town council meeting room that depicts Millville history.

Pumpkins will also be available to decorate on-site, free of charge, thanks to sponsorship by Beebe Medical Center.

Food vendors will include Hocker's BBQ, while the Doric Lodge will be selling grilled chicken, Mother's Cantina will offer Mexican fare and Blue Scoop will offer ice cream.

There will be a number of “bouncy” activities and slides for children of all ages, as well as a “surfing” challenge and a three-dimensional climbing wall, Amerling said, adding that all of those activities are being sponsored by local businesses “and we are very thankful for that.”

Festival-goers will also get a firsthand look at what the park property will look like as it transforms in the coming months, as the Town will have a table set up with renderings and staff on hand to answer questions about the park project.

Parking at the festival site will be available, but limited, so shuttles will be running between the park site and Millville United Methodist Church, located on Atlantic Avenue (Route 26) next to Millville Town Hall.

There is no rain date for the pumpkin festival.

By Kerin Magill

Staff Reporter