Pumpkin Illumination event returns to Vail Mansion Plaza in Morristown


So many community events died out during the pandemic last year, including the popular annual pumpkin illumination outside the Vail Mansion Plaza in Morristown.

Those ghoulish lights and the fun that comes with them are back this year and are scheduled from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on October 24. The rainy date is October 25.

The 11th Annual Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination is billed as a family affair that includes live jazz music by the Alex Lazzari quartet.

For those with artistic ambitions, local artist Dan Fenelon and students from the theater and art departments at Morristown High School will host creative interactive workshops for all ages from 5:15 pm to 6 pm.

A parade will follow, led by Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty and his wife, Mary Dougherty, before the pumpkins are lit around the Vail Mansion reflecting pool at 6:15 p.m.

Visitors can bring their own carved pumpkins to add to the display.

The event was developed “to bring expressive, free and fun artistic events to non-traditional spaces and to promote a sense of community through the arts”. It will follow appropriate and updated guidelines which can be found at www.morrisarts.org.

Morris Arts Executive Director Tom Werder said attendees can enjoy the event in a safe environment.

Illumination of pumpkins.

“It’s the kind of perfect event that you can safely leave behind and still watch and see hundreds of people, and feel like you’re part of something bigger,” he said.

The organization has already successfully relaunched its annual summer concert at Giralda Farms with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Normally held in July, it has been moved to August 28 of this year. The program, which began with live Indian music, was also one of the first live performances of the NJSO since the start of the pandemic.

“We had around 1,000 people and we had a great day enjoying the symphony,” said Werder. “I think maybe there were people who resisted, that’s understandable. But when I looked around I saw so many people appreciating the arts as a community.”

From his post, Werder said he saw and felt the positive response from the community to attending live arts and culture events, something that residents of Morristown have grown accustomed to over the years. He hopes it will be the same when the pumpkins are lit up.

Morris Arts 6th Annual Pumpkin Illumination at Vail Mansion.  October 25, 2015, Morristown, New Jersey.

“I have attended a lot of events from late summer to fall, and almost everyone I go to, there is this feeling of gratitude that we are able to do some of the things that we have. used to do every year, “Werder said.” This one is one of those events. “

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The Pumpkin Illumination is the last major Morris Arts community event of the year, but it will continue to help promote First Night Morris 2021.

The largest of the First Night events still operating in New Jersey, First Night Morris has gone fully virtual for 2020, but will be “reinvented” for 2021 with around 100 performers and 40 acts. Some will perform live at various venues in Morristown, some presented in virtual format. Virtual attractions include a film festival.

Morris Arts, located in Morristown, was founded in 1973 using the arts to “inspire, connect and engage”. It also serves as a resource for arts programming in schools and in the community, advocacy for the arts, creation of creative venues, and community support of artists and arts organizations in the Morris area.

William Westhoven is a local reporter for DailyRecord.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: [email protected] Twitter: @wwesthoven

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