I volunteer to manage our advertising and social media publicity for Pumpkin Fest each year and often field questions from the public.
Some include: do we allow dogs? Yes, on leash if well behaved since we have lots of young kids and seniors, but not in the mansion or museum.
Another is: is the trail handicap accessible? The gravel trail is easy for strollers but needs a strong person to push a wheelchair on some hills since it does not meet ADA standards. A mechanized wheelchair with wider tires made it through Friday night with assistance from a strong volunteer trail monitor (thank you Ken Klink!)
But the latest is: Why do we charge for Pumpkin Fest?
Here is the answer I provided on Facebook in reply:
The reason we charge $5 admission (2 and up) and $5 for onsite parking is that it is a yearly fundraiser for Silvermont park and mansion. It takes thousands of volunteer man-hours every year to repair the displays, build new displays, and move-in and set up and take down and move out the displays.
None of the volunteers are paid and many of the core volunteers spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pocket to improve the displays, and for the activity supplies, lunches, snacks and water to thank volunteers. They also spend time and gas money distributing publicity materials such as posters and rack cards. Our only reward is raising money to help maintain and improve Silvermont Park historic mansion.
The lead group is called Friends of Silvermont (FOS). It was formed 50 years ago because the county hadn’t maintained the historic mansion it was bequeathed and wanted to tear it down. Since then, FOS has raised and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing up the mansion and making improvements in the park, including helping with the new playground, taking down dead trees, paying an arborist to treat other trees to maintain their health, and having monthly work parties to plant flowers, pull weeds, remove deadfall, spread mulch and remove invasive growth.
I hope this explains why we charge. Please let me know if you have any other questions. We’d love for you to join FOS and help us with our mission of maintaining and improving Silvermont Park and historic mansion.
Just fyi, the admission and parking charge has NOT changed since we started the event 8 years ago. We hope generous people who can afford it will give us donations to help offset the low admission cost so that we can help keep it affordable for families and lower income folks. I can’t think of anything else that is still the same price as 8 years ago, while we have added more lights, exhibits, music, food trucks, tours of museum and house each year. Every other fall/Halloween event we know of charges much, much more.
We always need more volunteers, and would love for you to join us. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help us by volunteering or want to get on the mailing list to support Friends of Silvermont.
Do you have any other questions??? If we raise the admission or parking price in future years, what do you think is reasonable?