Pumpkinfest patches community together



Parents and students flock to the variety of activities and food options at this year’s Pumpkinfest. The community event made a welcoming return this year after being postponed until Oct. 23.

Screaming children and their parents crowded around Lincoln school on Oct. 30 and enjoyed the various games, activities and multicultural food options for this year’s Pumpkinfest.

Sara Scott, co-president of Lincoln School’s PTO and member of the Pumpkinfest committee since 2016, said Pumpkinfest was fairly small last year due to fears about COVID-19, and it was delayed to the end of October for this year.

“We were originally scheduled for the 23rd, but it rained. We took a chance with this new date and knew some people wouldn’t be able to make it, but the nice weather today has brought a good turnout,” Scott said.

Scott said she was very happy with the annual festival feeling, as if it had returned to its condition before the pandemic.

“I’m loving the crowd, and I’m loving the energy here. It really feels like pre-pandemic times; we’re really bringing the community back together,” Scott said. “We had a fairly small turnout and size last year, and now, it feels like old times all over again.”

Located in and around the cafeteria at Lincoln, food stands were a major part of the celebration. The festival included a barbeque station, Japanese candy sellers and a selection of Japanese foods and items, such as paintings from Japan inside the cafeteria. Saori Shimada, head of the Japanese Committee of the Lincoln School’s PTO, said her committee has brought a lot to the table for Pumpkinfest.

“Our committee is hosting Japanese food, Japanese games, Japanese snacks and bringing in Japanese culture with books and art,” Shimada said. “We have 40 Japanese families helping us run all of this as well, and we’re just very happy to introduce the Japanese culture to the Lincoln and general Brookline community.”

Anna Housley Juster, who has helped run the pumpkin patch of the festival for six years, said she values the communal aspect of the celebrations.

“I just love seeing the whole community come together and celebrate each other and our diversity, while also making money for the school,” Juster said. “I also personally missed the pumpkin patch, as it’s what I’ve been running for awhile, and I missed it so much over the pandemic.”

Juster said she made some minor but impactful changes to the pumpkin patch this year to make it more appealing to younger children.

“A fun new addition this year is the decoration booth, where little kids can decorate these cute, little baby pumpkins. We thought that would appeal more to little kids, who usually just stand around while their parents buy the pumpkins,” Juster said.

Scott said the many aspects of Pumpkinfest coming together are what really made the festival enjoyable this year.

“I love the food and the community all coming together on a beautiful autumn day,” Scott said. “It’s great seeing everyone celebrate and enjoy all our games, activities and so much more together again.”