Members of the North Providence Youth Commission carved out Halloween pumpkins that will be lighted and on display at the town’s annual Pumpkins in the Park at Notte Park on Friday, Oct. 29. See more photos on Page 8.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Pumpkins in the Park, which took a year off last year during COVID protocols, will return to Notte Park this weekend, featuring a first-of-its-kind community pumpkin carving contest component and new and improved Halloween scenes.

Mayor Charles Lombardi and the North Providence Recreation Department invite everyone to attend the popular fall event this Friday, Oct. 29, from 6 to 8 p.m.

“We’re looking forward to hopefully good weather and that people will come out and enjoy it again,” said Lombardi, who said the event upon its return will immediately be back to its pre-pandemic standards and better.

The free event will include a hayride, displays of carved pumpkins created by members of the North Providence Mayor’s Youth Commission and contest entries from the public, and Halloween scenes. Cookies and hot chocolate will also be provided free of charge. DJ “Eddie the Fixer” will play the music for visitors to enjoy and dance to in the amphitheater.

Deputy Recreation Director Jeannie Vickers said one big change this year will be that Pumpkins in the Park will move to the Meehan Overlook side of Notte Park, away from the main beach area, with the new concession stand, bathrooms, and stage.

The interspersed Halloween scenes will be new this year, said Vickers, including a cemetery scene, skeletons celebrating Christmas, and a camp scene.

TD Bank will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card to the person with the most creative carved pumpkin. Anyone interested in entering this inaugural contest is asked to drop off their pumpkin to the North Providence Recreation Department office, 2 Governor Notte Parkway, by noon this Friday, said Vickers.

Vickers said the contest has been created as a new way to engage the community with the event. Anyone can submit a carved pumpkin, they just need to add their name and phone number underneath it in some way so they can be notified if they’re a winner and aren’t present for the judging. Email any questions about the contest to recdirector@northprovidenceri.gov or call 401-719-1633.

“We’re trying to engage the community, involve the community, and we’ll see what happens,” said Vickers.

Officials also reached out to local middle schools and art classes, telling students that this is a great way to give back with a cool art project, Vickers said. All members of the Mayor’s Youth Commission are also carving pumpkins, she said.

TD Bank, which will do all the judging, will also be awarding a $10 Dunkin’ gift card to the second-place winner and a $5 Dunkin’ card to the third-place winner.

Vickers said organizers will also be accepting canned food and cash donations on behalf of the Youth Commission’s food drive, to benefit local food banks in North Providence.

Parking shouldn’t be an issue, said Vickers, as this year’s event is different than Fourth of July or Christmas in North Providence because people come and go more frequently and don’t stay throughout.

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