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Tue., Sep. 1
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Flower Memorial’s fall festival draws a record-breaking crowd to Watertown library Saturday


Hundreds of pumpkins — and faces — were painted in bright colors Saturday at Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library’s annual celebration of autumn.

At the ninth annual Appleumpkin Fall Festival, a record-breaking crowd of 582 energetic children and their parents roamed the 229 Washington St. library, where distractions were plentiful.

Jessica Griffin, Watertown, brought her three children – 10-year-old Brogan, 8-year-old Caitlyn and 4-year-old Ryleigh — to the Appleumpkin Festival for the first time and said she and her kids “love it.”

“I’m mixing colors,” said Caitlyn, who was painting one of 250 mini-pumpkins that were donated to the library by UnitedHealthcare Community Plan.

While her older siblings were still working on their not-so-orange-anymore pumpkins, Ryleigh had completed her masterpiece and was eager to move on to another activity — face painting was high on her priority list.

Suzannah Rainbolt, 10, Watertown, also shared Ryleigh’s passion for turning her face into a canvas, but wanted to knock down half a dozen rolls of toilet paper with a pumpkin first.

“Pumpkin Bowling” is the name of the game, and the goal is to knock down six rolls of ghost-faced toilet paper stacked on top of each other in the shape of a triangle.

The Rainbolts have been regular library patrons and Appleumpkin Festival attendees for years, Suzannah’s father, Raymond E., said.

Suzannah’s big brother, Joshua, 12, also came to the library Saturday, but as a volunteer. He reported for duty at 9:30 a.m. and had been stacking toilet paper rolls in Flower Memorial’s “story time” room for the other children to topple.

Making special appearances at the festival were UnitedHealthcare mascot Dr. Health E. Hound — who was well-behaved and appeared jovial — and award-winning author Hope I. Marston, Black River, who has written more than 30 children’s books.

Crafts for children, a story time and snacks also were prepared for the free three-hour event.

On Saturday, 20 volunteers, four librarians and three members of the library’s circulation staff helped make this year’s event an even bigger success than the 2012 Appleumpkin Fall Festival, which drew a crowd of 550, children’s librarian Ashley J. Pickett said.

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