AS THE GREAT PUMPKIN GETS LIT
by Kirby Lindsay
On Friday, October 2, at 8 p.m. a giant pumpkin atop Fremont Studios (155 N. 35th St) will be illuminated. The Fremont Chamber of Commerce has planned a celebration, dubbed the Great Pumpkin Lighting, to start at 7 p.m. at the Rocket (35th & Evanston Ave N). Rather than create a false sense of mystery and suspense about the details of the celebration, Jessica Vets, Executive Director for the Chamber, frankly admitted, “I don’t have an event yet. I have ‘at 8 p.m. on October 2 the pumpkin will light’.”
Vets also admitted the name deliberately “harkens back to Charlie Brown.” Otherwise, she has no preconceived notions about what a Great Pumpkin Lighting looks like done in Fremont fashion, yet.
Starting From Scratch
“The most difficult part about a new event,” Vets reported, “is making people excited about the event, and getting volunteers focused on action items.” Now in her second year at the Chamber, Vets started a first-ever Holiday Shopping Spree & Pub Crawl last year. Her ability to persevere showed when several feet of unexpected and, usually, un-fun snow made ‘Crawl’ into a handy hint about how to get around.
“The preferred way,” Vets explained, to setting up an event, “is when a group of people have an idea.” Lately Vets worked with members of several other community organizations to set up a Candidates Forum for October 13 at the old Lincoln High School. “It’s collaborative, and doesn’t come down to two people,” who bear all the burdens of organization.
Vets remains the central organizer of the Great Pumpkin party, although she delegates tasks where possible. While she has let others determine details, on one she remains firm. “I want it to be free,” she stated emphatically, “I want it to be a part of the community, not another fundraiser, or another Chamber Members’ only event.”
Just For Fun
While attendance costs nothing, Fremont Studios owner, Scott Jonas, admitted the expense of hosting a giant pumpkin adds up. Rental of the pumpkin costs $3,200, and then, he said, “a huge amount of lighting goes into it.” Last year, the month-long art installation overall added up to over $10,000.
“Hopefully we’ll generate revenue from our BOO party,” Jonas admitted, to off-set the cost of the pumpkin. BOO, a 21 years and over Halloween Costume Party, starts at 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 31st at the Studios, as a Chamber fundraiser.
To draw people to the lighting, and the Fremont First Friday Art Walk, the Studios have offered a special discount price for BOO. Tickets will cost $40 at the door, and $20-30 in advance through Brown Paper Tickets. Or, stop by the Fremont Studios box office on Friday, October 2, between 3 – 10 p.m., to purchase tickets for BOO for only $15 each.
“The pumpkin is a landmark for Halloween,” as Jonas described it, and “just fun!” Vets also likes the idea of a Halloween icon for Fremont. “It makes Halloween more than one day,” Vets said, and while she has no interest in expanding the holiday, the celebratory, and ghoulish, spirit of Halloween already lives here year-round. “There are many people in Fremont that, at the drop of a hat, would like to get dressed up in costume.”
Ultimately though, for Vets, the Great Pumpkin Lighting will be about creating excitement. “Fremont Studios is giving this temporary art installation,” she said, “and if we acknowledge that, it will come back. If we ignore it, it won’t.”
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.