Festival promises family fun, plenty of pumpkins
Newland Communities is known throughout the Tampa Bay area for its FishHawk Ranch and MiraBay communities. Now, they hope to become known for pumpkins and fun. The developer is partnering with the Life is good apparel company to host its second annual Pumpkin Festival from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday at FishHawk Ranch and 4 to 8 p.m. at MiraBay. "Newland Communities is a developer that not only designs desirable places to live, but also helps to create the social fabric in the community," says Pam Parisi, regional marketing director. "The Life is good Pumpkin Festival is a fun example of how we do that." The family event is among 11 that will be hosted in Newland communities in seven states to benefit charity.Nationally, the event will raise funds for HomeAid, a nonprofit provider of housing for the homeless. Locally, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, which funds cancer research. Last year, the festivals raised $400,000, Parisi says. "We wholeheartedly support HomeAid's efforts to help build dignified housing where temporarily homeless families and individuals can find shelter and rebuild their lives," Parisi says. "We are very proud to be affiliated to do what we can to contribute to both of these worthwhile charities." Parisi says the festivals would not be possible without Newland's alliance with Life is good. "Our relationship with Newland Communities and Life is good is such a natural fit given our mutual desire to build stronger communities where we work and live," said Genette Eaton, chief executive officer of HomeAid. "The pumpkin festivals and the funds that they raise will have a tremendous impact on serving the temporarily homeless population in each of the participating Newland communities, helping families and individuals get back on their feet." Agreeing completely is Bert Jacobs, co-founder and "chief executive optimist" of Life is good, a national apparel and accessory company. "Good communities rally around great events and great causes," Jacobs says. "Through our alliance with Newland Communities, both companies have an incredible opportunity to make a real difference. On [Saturday], we will share a message of optimism with an expanded audience and raise major funds for children and families who need a helping hand." The free festivals offer families a fun-filled day with activities for all ages, including pumpkin carving, games, live music and food, Parisi says. Donations are welcome. More than 3,500 pumpkins (2,300 at FishHawk and 1,200 at MiraBay) will be carved from the bottom, set upon scaffolding and lit. "Last year, [the national event] helped set a new Guinness World Record for the most lit pumpkins in one evening," Parisi says. Several area schools will carve some of the pumpkins ahead of time, while the rest will be reserved for carving at the festival. Donated refrigerated trucks will help keep the pre-carved pumpkins fresh, she says. "It is lots of fun to watch the kids walk around, looking for their school's or family's pumpkin," Parisi says. Visit www.newlandpumpkinfestival.com to find out more about the Life is good Pumpkin Festival.