Second Annual 'Norwitch' Fall Festival Returns To West Park On October 29
Published: October 19th, 2022
By: Sarah Genter

Second annual 'Norwitch' Fall Festival returns to West Park on October 29 The first annual Norwitch Fall Festival in 2021. The event is returning for its second year from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 29 in Norwich's West Park. The event is held in conjunction with the last Saturday in the Park of the season and the annual Norwich Family YMCA Halloween Parade, and will feature over 70 vendors, food, music, contests, raffles, and more. (Photo by Sarah Genter)

NORWICH — Last year's highly-attended, inaugural "Norwitch" Fall Festival, organized by the Norwich Business Improvement District (BID), has only grown and will be returning to Norwich's West Park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 29.

The festival is held in conjunction with the final Saturday in the Park with Chobani of the season, as well as the annual Norwich Family YMCA Halloween Parade and Costume Contest, which begins at 11 a.m. Following the parade will be an awards ceremony for the costume contest on the Chenango County Courthouse steps.

Throughout the day visitors can enjoy music by Grady Thompson; free yogurt from Chobani; breakfast sandwiches, hot dogs, and hot coffee provided by the Norwich Rotary; a chicken barbecue by Columbus Public House, beginning at 11 a.m.; over 70 vendors; the announcement of this year's recipient of the Commitment to Community award; and much more.

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"I think the festival has grown substantially. I think now a lot of people are calling because they want to be a part of it, because they’re seeing how much it’s growing. So people are approaching me to sell and be a vendor there, which is huge. And any vendors that were there are learning to really amp up for the last one, and that’s where everybody really comes out for a whole day of celebration," said Norwich BID Board Member Mindy Chawgo.

"I think we’ve probably at least doubled, or tripled. I’m really excited," she continued. "I mean, we literally have over 70 vendors that are coming on the last Saturday, and it’s anywhere from nonprofits to informationals to insurance to crafts to agricultural. We’ve covered every spectrum that day."

Plus, purchases made at any of the Norwitch Fall Festival vendors will come with free tickets to enter a basket raffle. Chawgo said craft and agricultural vendors have donated baskets and items to be raffled off, and she anticipates over 50 total lots to be given away.

"Say you purchase from Rolling Scones, you’ll get two tickets. Say you’ll go over to Saturday in the Park and get a sweatshirt, it’ll be two tickets. If you go up to Piers it’ll be two tickets. Regardless of the amount you spend, you’ll get a couple tickets for every item that you buy," said Chawgo. "So it’ll be no charge out of your pocket extra to join this raffle. Anybody who purchases will just get a ticket and they could possibly win more things."

The event is reminiscent of the beloved Pumpkin Fest, which saw two decades of fall-time fun in downtown Norwich. Chawgo said she hopes to bring a little bit of the Pumpkin Fest spirit to the Norwitch Fall Festival.

"We’re trying to bring back just a little bit of that feeling. It’s not so much the scaffolding and how many we can get, but to put people in the mood again to see it downtown and see the pumpkins, and to have everything fall down there," she explained. "So we’re trying to bring it back step by step. This year we’ll include a jack-o'-lantern contest and a painting of the pumpkins contest. Little things that can include every age group."

The Norwitch Fall Festival is a fun, family-friendly event with plenty for children to do as well. Carved and painted pumpkins can be submitted at a designated booth for a chance to win an award, which will be announced at 1 p.m.

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Kids can also enjoy taking a hop in a bounce house donated by Live Event NY, and from 12 to 3 p.m. families can take a free two-horse hay ride through Norwich streets. Hay rides are provided by the Waite Family, who also escort Santa and Mrs. Claus to the igloo in downtown Norwich during the annual Parade of Lights.

Following the festival from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Frontier parking lot will be trunk or treat, where Chawgo says more than 20 local businesses, nonprofits, and families will be giving out Halloween candy to attending children.

There is much to see and do at this year's Norwitch Fall Festival. Chawgo said she's crossing her fingers for good weather, a good turnout, and a day of community togetherness and positive memories.

"I think nice weather is the biggest hope right now, and really just people coming down and having a good time," she said. "It’s not necessarily about the sales, it’s about making the memories and the sales will come later. And everybody there is the same way, and it’s turned into a big family event and a family of vendors, and I think that’s all that we could ever ask for. So we’re happy with how it’s turned out. We’re very lucky to know all these talented people."