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UCP's great 'Pumpkins in the Park' returns

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UCP's great 'Pumpkins in the Park' returns (photo courtesy UCP)

UCP of Maine’s annual event marks 16th year

BANGOR - Halloween is fast approaching and UCP of Maine has announced their 16th annual “Pumpkins in the Park” event, sponsored by Van Syckle Kia, to take place on October 21 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Anah Shriner’s building on 1404 Broadway in Bangor.

UCP of Maine’s largest annual fundraiser, “Pumpkins in the Park” offers a safe, warm and fun environment for trick-or-treaters that will pick up candy at each uniquely decorated patch sponsored by a local business. According to event chair Andrew Lohman, the theme for this year’s event will be “Heroes Unite.”

“A lot of superhero movies came out this year and we thought this would be a fun theme for attendees to connect with,” Lohman told me during an interview.

Patch-tenders and event attendees are encouraged to arrive in a costume that represents their favorite superhero, movie or comic, according to Lohman, who says some of the patches will put their own twist on the theme.

“Some of our patch participants will spotlight local superheroes by honoring our police officers and firefighters,” Lohman explained. “I think it’s really great that they took the theme and put their own spin on what being a superhero means.”

In addition to fun indoor trick-or-treating, “Pumpkins in the Park” will feature an appearance by Pine State Heroes – a small group of cosplayers who volunteer their time to visit children’s hospitals and charitable events like “Pumpkins in the Park.”

The event is also scheduled to include music from DJ Jeff Bosse, a photo booth, face painting and a bounce house outside, weather permitting.

Last year’s 15th annual event turned out to be UCP of Maine’s most successful to date and this year’s event is shaping up to be a record-breaker, according to Lohman.

“We’ll have even more patches this year with 29 confirmed right now. We’re hoping to find one more business to commit to sponsoring a patch this year to reach our limit of 30 patches.”

For attendees standing in line, Lohman says there will be fun distractions including a booth with a game called “The Riddler’s Riddles.”

“It will be like a game show environment where participants can answer questions to win small prizes. It will be a way for people to have fun before they actually get to the trick-or-treating portion of the event.”

“Pumpkins in the Park” is a cash-only event with admission of $3.00 per person or $10.00 per family. Children three years of age or younger are admitted for free. Presale will-call tickets (to avoid ticket lines on the day of the event) are available by calling Brenda Wilson-Denning at 941-2952 ext. 308. Tickets will also be available at the event on October 21.

The main event for the community at large will begin at noon but doors will open an hour early for attendees who prefer a quieter and brighter trick-or-treating experience.

“We’ll open at 11 a.m. with a sensory-friendly environment primarily for the community that we serve,” Lohman said. “We’ll have the lights on and music playing at a low volume. It’s for individuals who prefer that type of environment.”

According to Lohman, the candy that is handed out at each patch is provided by UCP of Maine and is one of the organization’s largest expenditures for “Pumpkins in the Park.”

“Some of the candy is paid for with donations from the community and then we purchase the rest,” he said. “If people would like to help us out, we’re accepting candy donations through October 19 at our office on 700 Mt. Hope Ave., suite 320, in Bangor.”

Expect to see hundreds of groovy gourds and portly pumpkins during this year’s “Pumpkins in the Park” event.

“Each patch will receive 10 pumpkins that they carve,” Lohman said. “Some of them are carved to match the theme of the patch and others will be more like regular jack-o-lanterns. With 29 confirmed patches, that’s a lot of pumpkins to enjoy.”

A contest is planned for first, second and third prize among all patch-participants, according to Lohman. Winners will be determined by votes from attendees.

“Pumpkins in the Park,” sponsored by Van Syckle Kia, generates essential funds that are funneled into programs offered by UCP of Maine, such as the “Bridges” program which is focused on early childhood education. UCP of Maine also offers programs for adult and childhood case management and outpatient therapy.

UCP of Maine also oversees the Elizabeth Levinson Center, 159 Hogan Road in Bangor – a 24-hour, 14-bed facility for medically fragile children and adults with significant cognitive and medical needs.

Last modified on Tuesday, 16 October 2018 18:07

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