The second year for the “Lighted Pumpkin Patch & Revenge of the White Squirrels” event at Silvermont Park was a huge success, thanks to the support of Transylvania County residents and other visitors. Over 2600 people visited the illuminated paths decorated with an extensive collection of carved pumpkin and other Halloween displays. Kids of all ages enjoyed scouting for the hidden white squirrels along the trails, listening to the live music that was performed every evening, dining on goodies from the food trucks, visiting the first floor of the mansion and taking part in photo ops with a giant white squirrel!
The Pumpkin Patch fund-raising event ran for three weekends in October, and raised close to $14,000 for the Friends of Silvermont (FOS) fund to benefit Silvermont Park. The Friends of Silvermont are community advocates for keeping Silvermont Park as a vibrant community center and historic landmark. The mission of FOS is to support and advise Transylvania County management in the renovation, enhancement and upkeep of the Silvermont mansion and surrounding park.
The event was possible through the contributions of over 100 volunteers, the Transylvania County Parks & Recreation Department, funding by the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority, and many helpful businesses. Individuals from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the French Broad Garden Club, and the FOS provided the majority of volunteer efforts.
The initial unpacking of displays was a huge chore, requiring the relocation of the thousands of pumpkins and heavy displays from multiple storage locations to the Silvermont grounds. Keystone Camp provided space for storage of many of the displays over the last year. Participants from the Schenck Job Corps were vital to the moving process, as were members of the County Inmate Work Crew.
Volunteers spent hundreds of hours restoring the displays, planning the layout and logistics, and installing the many decorations and electrical cords required for illumination. Thanks to County funding, new electrical outlets were available throughout the park, making the layout much more manageable this year.
During the event, volunteers worked the gates and parking lot, patrolled the trails, coordinated games, and managed the event.
New to the event this year, two food trucks provided warm drinks and others treats – many thanks to the Velvet Cup and Pauline’s Coffee Cart!
The live music of Ben Phan, Opus Vita, Alabama Headlights, Kevin Muehleisen, and Silvermont’s own Mountain Music group took turns entertaining the crowd from the steps of the mansion – thank you!
The Oskar Blues trolley transported appreciative visitors to Silvermont on several nights from neighboring parking lots and the Gallery Walk.
Other businesses that contributed to the success of the Pumpkin Patch include Ace Hardware, The Transylvania Times, Blue Ridge Quick Print, Allegra, and Keystone Camp.
The Silvermont mansion turns 100 years old in 2017 and plans are being made to celebrate the centennial. Mark your calendars for May 13, 2017 when the primary celebration will be held! The FOS encourages members of the community to provide continued support for Silvermont Park enhancement efforts by becoming a Friend of Silvermont. To become a Friend, visit the FOS website at www.silvermont.org/membership/