CNY Pumpkin Festival returns in October

The CNY Pumpkin Festival returns to the Port City the first weekend in October after a one-year hiatus. Pictured above, from left to right, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow, Oswego YMCA Interim Executive Director Cheryl Baldwin and

Oswego Community Development Deputy Director Amy Murphy. 

OSWEGO — The YMCA’s CNY Pumpkin Festival returns to the Port City next month as the fall season kicks off. 

The 2021 Pumpkin Festival marks the return of the local favorite after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related safety restrictions. The 2021 fall festival will include live music, fall-themed foods, unique children’s games and a variety of vendors and activities. 

“Pumpkin fest is a family focused event and collaboration between the city and YMCA to deliver a community event celebrating the fall season.” YMCA Health, Wellness and Membership Marketing Director Trish Levine told The Palladium-Times this week. “The YMCA brought the festival to the community in 2019 for the first time, and we had such a good time doing it that we are doing it again.” 

The event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 2 and 3 at Washington Square. 

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow expressed gratitude for the Oswego YMCA’s effort in hosting the collaborative event for a second time, noting the event provides families throughout central New York with an opportunity to attend a “great fall festival.”

“I’m so thrilled that the Oswego YMCA took on Pumpkin Fest and is willing to host the even,” Barlow said about the YMCA, he noted that before 2019, the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce presented the event.”(The festival is) just a great fall festival that has brought some attention from folks all around the central New York area, it really attracts a lot of families over to the east park to give them something to do on what would otherwise be a probably quiet weekend in the city.”

Center stage on Oct. 2 will feature regional talent, such as Syracuse-based DeSantis Orchestra — sponsored through Empower Federal Credit Union — from 12 to 2 p.m. and local band Love Volcanoes, which will perform from 3 to 5 p.m., Oct. 2. If it rains, Levine said the DeSantis Orchestra would instead perform on Oct. 3 during the same time slot. 

Oct. 3’s lineup features local talent, with New York Relics slated to take the stage from 3 to 5 p.m. and local artist Mike Shiel scheduled to perform. However, Levine said officials were still “nailing down a time” for Shiel’s performance. 

Both festival days will also feature unique fall-themed activities for families and people of all ages to enjoy, according to Levine. 

Activities include the return of the Scarecrow Scramble — a two-person, three-legged scarecrow-themed race featuring a golden pumpkin prize, a scarecrow building competition, a pumpkin-face contest, a corn maze, carnival games, as well as 18th-century historic games from members of the Fort Ontario State Historic Site. Levine said local amusement company Ontario Amusements will also set up several activates for the community.

Levine noted the Scarecrow Scramble would only take place on Saturday, Oct. 2 however, and urged the community to join in the activity. 

“(The festival is) such a great opportunity for us to get out of our facility and engage with our community in a variety of enjoyable and creative ways,” Levine said. 

However, according to YMCA Interim Executive Director Cheryl Baldwin this year’s festival will not feature the popular pumpkin weighing competition, marking the second time the festival has not held the popular contest. 

She told The Palladium-Times this month the contest was cancelled “due to the farmers unsure of their of their availability” at the time of the festival. 

Food selections will include a pumpkin pancake breakfast both days from local Girl Scout troops 10566 and 10567. The breakfast features “pumpkin themed eats, drinks and treats,” Levine said. In addition to that, food options will include barbeque, pizza and other popular food selections.

For more information, visit or call (315) 342-6082.

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