“I thought I’d love to have a pumpkin patch and a Christmas tree lot,” said Gregory, who owns Got-A-Party rentals in Brentwood. “I’d been thinking about it for years.” To fulfill those dreams, he decided to turn both events into full-blown festivals, complete with games, rides and plenty of fun.
“I’ve always been into businesses that have some form of entertainment,” he said. The festivals are family-friendly and feature old-town attractions such as rubber duck races, pony rides and water balloon cannons. Kids can mine for gems at the specially built sluice, ride the kiddie train or race tricycles and go-karts. Other attractions include a rock wall, slides, airbrush tattoos and an array of Got-A-Party’s inflatables. Snow cones, cotton candy, kettle corn and pumpkin spice soup in bread bowls provide tasty treats during a long day of play.
Each festival has its own theme. Pumpkin Fest, designed in an Old West style, features a Cowboy Theater at which Edna Hill drama classes perform comedy skits, a sheriff with a jail for photo opportunities, a pumpkin patch and a 1,600-square-foot haunted house. The Winter Fest features an ice skating rink, roasted chestnuts, Mrs. Claus reading Christmas stories to young visitors and, of course, the Christmas tree lot.
“I’m hoping there’ll be a lot going on,” said Gregory. Admission is free, and tickets for the attractions can be purchased at the entrance.
The festivals are designed to raise money for community groups and local nonprofits. Organizations can volunteer their members’ time to staff the booths in exchange for 20 percent of ticket sales for those attractions. Gregory hopes to raise more than $50,000 to donate to participating groups, including churches, school groups and charities. He also welcomes suggestions for other booths and events.
Nonprofits aren’t the only ones who can get involved – local businesses can advertise by sponsoring the event. Sponsorship levels range from just $100 to put a logo on one of the racing tricycles to $10,000 for a full-fledged advertising package. Companies can also sponsor a particular event or suggest their own attractions.
“We’re definitely open to new ideas,” said Gregory. “We’ve got plenty of space.” With tons of ways to participate, the festivals provide a fun venue for the family and an optimal way for organizations to show their community spirit.
Pumpkin Fest runs from Sept. 29 through Oct. 31, and Winter Fest from Nov. 18 through Jan. 6 at Technology Way/Brentwood Blvd (where the 2012 Cornfest was) behind Jack in the Box. The festivals are open Mondays through Thursdays from 3 to 10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free. To get involved, call 925-516-7664 or e-mail email@example.com.