BELLE FOURCHE – The atmosphere was perfect, the weather was fantastic, and there was a giant pumpkin to greet youngsters and adults at the first annual PumpkinFest sponsored by the Belle Fourche Chamber, Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center, and the Black Hills Roundup Ag Committee, and Oct. 28. Over 500 people from the area showed up to join all the fun.

Chamber representatives greeted festival partakers with a cup of hot chocolate as they began to explore what was being offered at the PumpkinFest. At least 120 cups of hot chocolate were passed out free courtesy of the Chamber, said Chamber Director Gary Wood.

It was a unique venue since it was an affair families could enjoy without having to spend a lot of money, Wood pointed out. There were games of all sorts, including Mummy Bowling and Scarecrow Ring Toss. A Mad Scientist table provided children an opportunity to learn a little chemistry while making green slime, which is a must during Halloween.

There was pumpkin roping with 35 kids taking part in trying their skills at handling a rope. Jennifer Gabriel of First Western Insurance sponsored the roping and encouraged the youngsters to keep trying.

What’s Halloween without a decorated pumpkin? The Black Hills Roundup members brought a pallet of pumpkins to decorate-complete with stickers of all sorts and a helping hand. It sounds like it was a great endeavor and there were more kids than real pumpkins, but there were foam pumpkins as well. Those who participated were excited to see their creations.

The 8th Avenue Bakery had cupcakes to decorate. It was a great time to use your imagination and see what you could do with a bit of frosting and some sprinkles.

There were vendors selling canned goods, baked goods, clothing, and lunch for adults and children. Wood said that the traffic was good for the vendors and everyone kept busy.

People noticed the large inflatables brought in by Nathan Stern from Faith and were curious to see what was happening at the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center. With crowds of people and a giant pumpkin, how could anyone drive past? Chad Carr from Carr Coatings supplied the humungous pumpkin that was big enough to crawl into (but that was forbidden, much to the disappointment of many youngsters).

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The Chamber’s pumpkin train was kept busy all day long, thanks to engineer Roger.

Johnny Spaulding’s cabin was a spooky draw for almost everyone. The eyes of Johnny Spaulding followed each visitor as they entered. The phone kept ringing and if you answered you heard, “I’m going to get you!” Going upstairs, if you dared, to the creepy rooms up there took some fortitude, but was well worth the trip up the narrow steps. The cabin will be open through Friday, Nov. 3, but you will need to ask someone inside the museum to open it.

The story was told of a clock that chimed 13 times on Halloween night in the play “The Ghosts of Minnesela” written by Kristi Thielen. The Tri-State Performers did a remarkable job telling about a “ghost” in the Minnesela Hotel. All the information about the town of Minnesela, once a rival town of Belle Fourche, was historically correct, except for the ghost that is.  

“We are more than pleased with the turnout and look forward to doing it again,” said Gary Wood. “And we’ll make it even better!”

He added that the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center and the Chamber would like to thank those who came, the vendors, and all the volunteers. “We couldn’t do it without all of you,” said Wood.

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