For the weeks leading up to Pumpkin Fest, and during the event itself, we focus our publicity efforts on promoting the event. We go all-pumpkin, all the time.
Now that Pumpkin Fest 2023 is in the rear-view mirror, we can catch up on other Silvermont-related news. On the top of our list, we’d like to congratulate Brenda Skeffington, our favorite Transylvania County employee, on being named Transylvanian of the Week in the October 2 edition of the Transylvania Times.
Her job title is Recreation Program Coordinator II, but we all know her as the overseer of the Silvermont Opportunity Center, where she manages the day-to-day operations of our senior center, tennis courts, and activities for young and old alike. She is endlessly positive, cheerful, and creative in making Silvermont the vibrant community center we’ve all come to know and love.
It’s not in her job title, but Brenda is not only the face of Silvermont — she is also its heart and soul. The Times article mentions her many contributions to the community and her leadership in creating, coordinating, and teaching programs at the Senior Center. It’s typical of her modesty not to mention her role as a key leader in the Land of Waterfalls Senior Games, including sports and the Silver Arts competitions. We had several state-wide prize winners in the latest edition.
We’ve seen her counsel seniors about local resources, lead fitness classes, endlessly set up rooms for meetings, answer a stream of questions, and run a leaf blower in the parking lot — all in a day’s work. Way to go, Brenda!
As is often the case, over our eight event nights we accumulated a few lost and found items that have yet to be claimed. If any of the items below belong to you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll hang on to these items until November 27, at which time we’ll donate or discard them.
Pumpkin Fest 2023 is a wrap as of Thursday, November 2, about 3:30 pm. It was a very successful fundraising year due to great attendance, our first price raise in 9 years, and 2 event sponsors (Rotary Club of Brevard and Brevard Music Center) plus many music sponsors (all nights but one) and many other companies and groups that contributed with services or financial contributions.
It was also a very successful volunteer year, with more than 300 volunteers, including students from the local high schools (JROTC, Rosman High National Honor Society, Parks and Rec Youth Council and Brevard High’s Interact and Thespian Clubs). Community volunteer groups included Brevard Rotary, AAUW Brevard NC Branch, Slick Rock Mountain Friends, the Transylvania Art Guild, and many, many other community-minded individuals who responded to our needs to raise money to support Silvermont Park and Mansion and put on a fun community event!
It was a challenging year for our leadership group, who are mostly in their 60s and 70s, and find the long days of set up and take down harder each year, but we were blessed by many volunteer helpers and hard working young men from Schenck Job Corps who assisted on the big move in and out days.
Special kudos go to our Pumpkin Fest leader, Joe Dapkins, who puts in more long hours and works harder than the rest of us after planning the work and being a resource to all. And thank you to the rest of the Pumpkin Fest leadership team, without whom it would never happen: Chet Wright, Ruth Wright, Jeanne Hunter, Kristen Alpert, Pinkie Byrd, Jenny Tierney, Joni Pavlik, Erik Rasmussen, Frances Rasmussen, Alice Moran, Mary McGinnis, and Maury Bandurraga. Each has his or her own area to manage in addition to contributing to other areas. We have a great need for others to join this team to spread the load. Please let us know if you’d like to learn more!
Shown below is a pic of the final punch list for our big move out day. Amazingly, we got it all done in addition to loading and unloading multiple truck loads of the displays to move to our storage place!!! It was very satisfying to cross each item off the list.
Now the leadership will meet to discuss whether or not we are up to doing this again next year, or want to take a year off, a decision we discuss after every Pumpkin Fest. We will also discuss what went well and areas of improvement, and work needed (like repairs to damaged pumpkins) in the off season.
Food for Saturday, October 28, 6-9 pm will be Feta Flav and Toasted Cuban food trucks and Cup and Saucer. Music will again be provided by McIntosh and the Lionhearts.
Weather looks great for both nights!
Please come join the fun of Pumpkin Fest!! Enjoy the wonderful music, tasty food trucks, lighted trail, trail actors, museum guided tours (sign up on mansion porch), first floor mansion history exhibits, story teller, and all the kids’ activities (white squirrel hunt, games, dress up, face painting, coloring pumpkins, sidewalk chalk and more!!).
Thank you to McNeely’s for donating hay bales and to Alice Moran for arranging them and making Pumpkin Fest signs for this year’s event. The signs are more visible this year and easier to put up due to the hay bales — plus the hay bales add to the fall ambiance.
The weather looks good for Saturday, October 21, so please come join the fun of Pumpkin Fest!! Enjoy the wonderful music, tasty food trucks, lighted trail, trail actors, museum guided tours, mansion history exhibits, and all the kids activities (white squirrel hunt, games, dress up, face painting, coloring pumpkins, sidewalk chalk and more!!).
The food truck on Saturday, October 20 from 6-9 pm is Feta Flav. and Cup and Saucer will have coffee and treats.
Our musicians tonight are Unpaid Bill and the Bad Czechs.
Friends of Silvermont tries to improve and respond to feedback on Pumpkin Fest each year, during and after the month-long event. This year, for the first time, we asked for sponsorship help, which helps pay our expenses, assists with fundraising, and keeps ticket prices low.
Did you know that at least 50 volunteers donate their time every night that we put on Pumpkin Fest? Here are just a few of the folks who make the magic happen. Come see us, Fridays and Saturdays for the remainder of October, from 6-9 pm, and thank a volunteer!
The second weekend of Pumpkin Fest 2023 is here, with event nights from 6-9 pm on Friday, October 13 and Saturday, October 14!
Friends of Silvermont gratefully acknowledges Brevard Music Center, our event sponsor for October 13. Brevard Music Center is one of this country’s premier summer training programs and festivals, with year-round performances as part of their Parker Concert Hall series and other special events.
Our guests are encouraged to visit the Brevard Music Center tent in front of the mansion on the evenings of October 13, 14, 20, and 21 to learn more about BMC and to enter their car raffle. The raffle provides scholarships to high school and college students who could not otherwise afford to attend the BMC Summer Institute and Festival.
The time before opening night of Pumpkin Fest is very hectic, with the team setting up displays to get ready for our guests, and ensuring we have 50 volunteers each night we are open. It takes hundreds of volunteers to do this month long event, and we appreciate each and every one.
Friends of Silvermont would like to take a moment to recognize the leader of our group and key team members.
The top left photo shows the guy who leads the Pumpkin Fest team, and is guaranteed to work more hours on Pumpkin Fest than anyone else: Joe Dapkins, head Pumpkinteer. The rest of us work a lot, but we know the hours and dedication he puts in every day, and the skills he employs, both personal and mechanical.
This year’s move in and set up has been blessed by the help of many JROTC students from Transylvania County schools, Rotary Club of Brevard, community volunteers, and many Friends of Silvermont (FOS) volunteers, but has been challenging with key volunteer leaders being unavailable for a variety of unforeseen reasons. We are all looking forward to opening weekend and a chance to recover a little next week.
We also lost one of the musician groups on Saturday, October 14, but they have been replaced by a Brevard favorite, Unpaid Bill & the Bad Czechs!!! Thank you to Bill and his group for stepping forward to help and Jeanne Hunter for arranging!
Please meet the entire Pumpkin Fest team!
Many of us wear multiple hats. Maury Bandurraga does publicity, advertising and calendar postings as well as coordinate distribution of publicity materials, including taking materials to Greenville, Asheville, Hendersonville and Saluda. Maury also assists with recruiting volunteers and helps our Volunteer Leader, as well as manages the Silvermont Park Facebook page.
Erik Rasmussen is FOS president, is a key team leader for set-up, and recruited and managed sponsors this year. He also serves as event manager one weekend of Pumpkin Fest.
Joe Dapkins is FOS vice president and fills in when Erik isn’t available and is our Pumpkin Fest leader. He schedules the move in and set-up process and is a resource for everyone else.
Kristen Alpert is our FOS treasurer and usually our main cashier for Pumpkin Fest and manages a lot of the kids activities.
Jeanne Hunter is our artistic guru who designed all of our new exhibits and also arranged music groups each night, and coordinates our trail actors. She also has served as event manager for one weekend of Pumpkin Fest.
Pinkie Byrd is FOS secretary and in charge of the mansion activities. She also was the porch leader this year and led move out at the hangar on September 23.
Alice Moran is in charge of Pumpkin Fest signs and got hay bales donated, among many other tasks.
Jenny Tierney is an FOS board member and a key resource in set up.
Ruth Wright is our lead volunteer coordinator and a key team leader in set-up.
Chet Wright is another key team leader for set-up and FOS board member. He is training to be an event manager, and wrote the story of Syd the White Squirrel, a new display last year. He also has revamped the FOS website, which is key to Pumpkin Fest publicity.
Frances Rasmussen is a key person in set-up, especially assisting Erik and Jeanne, and setting up a beautiful story telling area. She and Erik are also responsible for designing our trail lighting system, which replaced the need for bringing flashlights to safely walk the trail in early years.
Joni Pavlik is an FOS board member and arranges our Pumpkin Fest food trucks and coffee shop resources, important to the event’s success.
Jeff Dapkins is our head parking guy each night of the event, as well as setting up music for several displays.
There are many, many others who contribute to set-up and event nights, but these are the key leaders. If they look exhausted on opening night, you will understand why. Thanks to all of them for being Pumpkin Fest key leaders and making this year a fun and successful event!!