HIGHLAND PARK/HIGHWOOD – The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival begins October 6, but some of the pumpkins have already been transitioned into Jack O’ Lanterns thanks to students and teachers from Northwood Junior High School and Oak Terrace Elementary School in Highland Park.
The most original contribution carving so far comes from Northwood art teacher Tad Grabnik, in the form of a Tom Petty pumpkin.
Joanne Dimitriou, principal of Northwood Junior High School, said some of the kids were very creative using the pumpkin seeds as teeth. Northwood students have been participating in The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest for several years now. “We view it as a little bit of Americana that we bring to all of our students,” said Dimitriou.
The City of Highwood delivered pumpkins to the school, and the students carved them in their advisory classes, which are akin to a homeroom class with only 10 or 15 students in each room. The students selected different stencils to create unique designs that were returned to Pumpkin Fest for all to see.
Oak Terrace Elementary School also participated in Pumpkin Fest.
The 8th Annual Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival runs October 6 to 8, in Highwood, benefitting Make-A-Wish Illinois. The event lit up Thursday October 5 with a Community Appreciation Night.
The students enjoyed decorating the pumpkins. “It’s collaborative, fun and most students have never done this before, which is why we started it several years ago,” said Dimitriou.
Dimitriou explained that because Northwood has students from Highland Park, Fort Sheridan, and many students from Highwood, Pumpkin Fest is one way to support the Highwood community. “It was our desire to help the community and The- Make-a-Wish Foundation,” she said.
Another example of Northwood students showing their support for the community will take place on October 14, when students will run or walk in the 112 Foundation Fun(d) Run in Highland Park.
In 1997, Dimitriou began teaching social studies and Spanish at Edgewood Middle School, and became associate principal of Northwood Junior High School in 2013. When Northwood Principal Sandra Arreguin returned to Township High School District 113 to become the assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment on July 1, 2017, Dimitriou took over as Northwood principal.
The Northwood pumpkins will be on display at the Fest all weekend.
According to a press release, last year’s Pumpkin Fest raised $60,000, with all proceeds donated to grant wishes for kids with life-threatening conditions in Illinois. This year the goal is to double that figure and once again attempt to break the Guinness World Record of 30, 851 carved and lit Jack O’ Lanterns on display.
The Pumpkin Festival runs October 6 to 8, in Highwood, benefitting Make-A-Wish Illinois. The event includes food, music, pumpkin carving and carnival rides.
2017 Schedule of Events:
Friday, October 6
- 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Festival Opens – Rides, Vendors Activities, All-You-Can Carve Pumpkins
- 4:00 – 6: 00 p.m. — Trick or Treating
- 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. — Unlimited Carnival Ride Special- ONLY $25 per person
- 7:45 p.m. — Wall Lighting
- 10:00 p.m. — Close
Saturday, October 7
- 9:00 a.m. — Superhero 5k Run/Walk
- 11:00 a.m. — Festival Opens: Rides, Vendors Activities, All-You-Can Carve Pumpkins
- 1:00 – 9:00 p.m. — Unlimited Carnival Ride Special – ONLY $25 per person
- 4:00 p.m. — Pie Eating Contest
- 8:00 p.m. — Wall Lighting
- 10:00 p.m. — Close
Sunday, October 8
- 11:00 a.m. — Festival Opens – Rides, Vendors Activities, All-You-Can Carve Pumpkins
- 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. — Unlimited Carnival Ride Special – ONLY $25 per person
- 1:00 p.m. — Pet Costume- Sponsored by Coopers Way
- 2:00 p.m. — Kids Costume Contest
- 5:30 p.m. — World record attempt
- 7:00 p.m. — Wall Lighting
- 9:00 p.m. — Festival Closes
All the proceeds from The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival will go to Make-A-Wish Illinois.
For more information visit: http://highwoodpumpkinfest.com