Jones Family Farms held its 31st Children’s Festival for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); which also helped with raising money for Breast Cancer awareness for the Valley Goes Pink October program. The farm hosted fall themed activities for children and donated a percentage of Halloween weekend sales to both UNICEF and to the Valley Goes Pink initiatives.
The UNICEF fundraiser has raised nearly $115,000 in 31 years, said farm owner Terry Jones.
Farm Manager Tom Harbinson said the children came in costumes and enjoyed arts and crafts activities at fiesta themed stations. Parents purchased tickets for $2 to be used one per station. Children had a choice of four stations to make either buttons, paper maracas, painted pumpkins with the “Dia de Los Muertos” design, or paper fall flowers. Visitors could also buy a ticket to guess the weight of a giant pumpkin on either Saturday or Sunday. The Saturday pumpkin weighed 118 pounds and the winner got to keep the pumpkin from either day.
Artist Bob Bonazzo sculpted pumpkins and gave carving demonstrations. He later planned to send some of his carvings off in a balloon.
Part of the Halloween weekend fun was the All-You- Can-Carry special for $35, daring visitors to challenge themselves to loading their arms with pumpkins. Craig Cervone carried six pumpkins for his family, while his wife Stephanie and their children Madison, Chloe, Jacob, and Ethan watched.
Matthew Jackman, who carried eight pumpkins, said the event was fun because he gets to carry a bunch of pumpkins to see how many he can carry. He said for some it’s a challenge and for others it is to see if they can really do it. His mother, Stephanie Lengyel, said they have been coming to the farm for seven years.
However, Monroe resident Ryan Condon opted not to carry multiple pumpkins but to aim for one big one. He carried a pumpkin estimated over one hundred pounds. Condon said each Halloween his family carves a giant pumpkin and talks to children about the “Magic Pumpkin.” They do this at their home in Monroe to entertain children.
Small children enjoyed making the crafts at the children’s festival. Sal Affinito, 8, and his brother Joey Affinito, 6, made paper maracas. Their mother, Ashlee Garay, said they were all enjoying the festival and happy to be supporting UNICEF.
“It’s a wonderful event for kids; we were happy to come, “ Garay said.
Her son Sal said it was great and people should get on the fire truck and also go in the maze. His little brother, Joey, said he was going to be a black ninja for Halloween.
Emily Pelella helped the boys decorate their crafts. She said the day was a little chilly, but she said she thinks it is great what the farm is are doing.
Marc and Janis Covey said they love to come to the farm each year to get their pumpkins. The couple took their two daughters: Cameron, 6, and Morgan, 7, to pose on Lyman Gilbert’s pink tractor. Gilbert, an Ansonia resident and volunteer firefighter, painted the tractor pink to honor his wife’s twin Catherine Sullivan-Defelice and his wife’s niece Karen Sullivan- Baker, both women died from cancer two years ago. Gilbert collected donations for Seymour Goes Pink.
Brenna Jones and Andrea Urbano both worked on the farm helping children with crafts. Urbano said she felt that the Jones Family really contributes to the community and she feels it is a beautiful thing to be a part of the event. Jones said the kids love the games and the craft.
Children also had fun running through the corn maze. They also got to climb the maze tower and watch other children run through the maze.