Calabasas community and business leaders launch 2011 Pumpkin Festival – Calabasas Real Estate and Community

Calabasas community and business leaders launch 2011 Pumpkin Festival

  PLAN FOR PUMPKINS—Jeff Morton, co-chair for the 2011 Calabasas Pumpkin Festival, thanks Calabasas Chamber of Commerce members and city representatives for their hard work. Organizers are still seeking high school students and adults to help with the upcoming festivities. PLAN FOR PUMPKINS—Jeff Morton, co-chair for the 2011 Calabasas Pumpkin Festival, thanks Calabasas Chamber of Commerce members and city representatives for their hard work. Organizers are still seeking high school students and adults to help with the upcoming festivities. About 50 community leaders and business owners gathered at the Acura 101 West car dealership last week to kick off the 2011 Calabasas Pumpkin Festival.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the weekend of Oct. 15 and 16 at Juan Bautista de Anza Park.

The festival began in 1966 and has become a tradition for residents of Calabasas, a city whose name means pumpkin, or gourd, in Spanish. Organizers moved the event from Paramount Ranch to de Anza Park several years ago.

“The festival has always been my favorite event,” said Susan Orgen, a Calabasas Chamber of Commerce board member who co-chairs the event.

In addition to family contests, a pumpkin patch and rides, 2011 activities will include a beer garden and business expo; a car show; dozens of booths selling food, arts and crafts; musical performances; and live reptile shows.

About 11,000 people attended last year’s event, organizers said.

“People drive from all across L.A. to celebrate the harvest season at the festival with their children,” said Michael Higginbotham, a Calabasas Chamber member and festival volunteer.

The Calabasas Chamber organizes the festival in conjunction with the city.

According to Chamber leaders, the event wouldn’t be possible without the finances and manpower provided by the city. Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Rubin and recreation specialist Aimee Haber coordinate food vendors and entertainment as well as security and logistics for the two-day event.

In 2005, the city began partnering with the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce to produce a low-cost, family-friendly event in Calabasas, Haber said. The city provides traffic control, parking, shuttling, safety and security. It also coordinates the rides, games, bands, reptile shows and more than 80 marketplace and food court vendors.

“ The Calabasas Pumpkin Festival showcases our city’s greatest assets—the beautiful parks and hillsides, our great neighbors and community members and of course the wonderful businesses,” Haber said.

Event co-chair Jeff Morton said the organizers need about 60 to 70 volunteers from local high schools, businesses and the community to fill shifts at various booths and make the event run smoothly.

“We need to have a lot of volunteers, “ said Morton, a Chamber board member who’s been volunteering with the festival for four years.

Bridget Karl, new president of the Calabasas Chamber, encouraged local businesses to participate in the expo at the festival. It allows companies to promote their goods and services while meeting with local residents, Karl said, adding that she would love to have a recruitment firm on site this year to help unemployed visitors find new jobs.

After introductions and mingling, attendees at the kickoff gathered underneath a large inflatable pumpkin on top of the Acura car dealership for a group photo.

Admission to the festival is $ 5 per person. The price includes inflatable rides and a giant slide, live bands, contests, games and access to a vendor and fun zone area.

Sunday’s event will also feature a car show. Food and drink will be sold at the site. Children under 2 are admitted free.

For more information on business expo or sponsorship opportunities, call the Calabasas Chamber at (818) 222-5680 or email info@ calabasas chamber.com.

Here comes the Calabasas Pumpkin Festival…

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