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September 26, 2012

Museum gets ready for pumpkin festival

By Linda Shepard
C & G Staff Writer

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Museum gets ready for pumpkin festival
Lit jack-o-lanterns line the stone walls at a past Stonewall Pumpkin Festival.

ROCHESTER HILLS — Planned to highlight the peak of the fall color season, the upcoming Stone Wall Pumpkin Festival aims to entertain every member of the family, organizers say.

“You will need three or four hours for everything that is going on,” said Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm Director Pat McKay. Pumpkin carving, music, crafts, a fire truck display and more are offered during the annual event that includes an evening display of lighted jack-o-lanterns.

“We’ve got a marching band drum line and an American folk music show. We try to enhance the music every year,” McKay said. “We’ll have a pioneer playground with lots of things for kids to jump on. We’ll have two book signings. This is our biggest event — the biggest fundraiser for the museum. We make 40 percent of our revenues at the festival.”

For a $7 entrance free, festival attendees will receive a pumpkin and access to carving equipment. That evening, the carved pumpkins will be lit and placed on the historic stone walls of the former Van Hoosen farm.

The pumpkin lighting is a fundraiser for the Rochester Area Neighborhood House, and attendees are asked to bring a can of food or gently used warm clothing and hats, or to make a financial contribution.

McKay said the afternoon and evening portions of the festival have never been cancelled by bad weather. “We have lots of tents,” he said. “One year we had a howling rainstorm, so we ended it early. In the past few years, it has been hot — in the 80s.”

The festival “is one of the events that makes our community unique,” said Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett.

The Stonewall Pumpkin Festival is held 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with the pumpkin lighting 7-9 p.m., Oct. 13 at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm, located at 1005 Van Hoosen Road, off of Tienken Road, between Rochester and Dequindre roads, one mile north of downtown Rochester.

Located in Stoney Creek Village, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the 16-acre museum complex was home to the Taylor and Van Hoosen families dating back to 1823.

The museum is open to the public 1-4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call (248) 656-4663 or visit www.rochesterhills.org.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Linda Shepard at lshepard@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1065.