'Norwitch' Fall Festival Returns On Saturday
Published: October 26th, 2023
By: Sarah Genter

'Norwitch' Fall Festival returns on Saturday Perry Browne students participating in the 2021 Norwich Family YMCA Halloween Parade. This year's parade will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 28, with an awards ceremony and contest and raffle announcements to follow on the Chenango County Courthouse steps. (Photo by Sarah Genter)

NORWICH — The "Norwitch" Fall Festival will be returning for the third year on Saturday, October 28. The annual festival put on by the Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and be held in conjunction with the final Saturday in the Park with Chobani of the season, the YMCA Halloween Parade, and Trunk or Treat.

The day kicks off at 9 a.m. with more than 100 vendors selling local and handmade products in both East and West Parks in downtown Norwich. Other additions to the event include face painting, a bounce house provided by Live Event NY, Columbus Public House's chicken barbecue, balloon and caricature artists, tarot reading, raffles, hay rides, and more.

"We’ve added a lot more agricultural vendors this year. We’ve added a lot more local community vendors. So we’ve had agricultural, we’ve had crafters, we’ve had a lot of people that are at home that are doing things that have learned, now that they’re home more, that they can do more things. Making candles, doing acrylic things, knitting, things like that. So I think we’ve incorporated a lot more at-home crafters," said BID Board Member Mindy Chawgo.

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"Everything is just growing and getting bigger. Our names are getting bigger. We have a lot of Oxford vendors that have come over to us this year once theirs ended. So it’s been nice," she added. " There’s so much talent in Chenango County."

Local businesses, organizations, schools, and families can also enter this year's scarecrow contest. Scarecrows can be dropped off at the park Friday evening or Saturday morning to be judged by the public during the Norwitch Fall Festival. Submissions must include the individual's name or the name of the organization and a phone number.

"I can’t wait to see the themes and the costumes," said Chawgo. "A bakery could have it and put a little chef’s outfit on it. Holy Family School could put their sweatshirt on there. It's just cute little themes. I can't wait to see what people do with it."

The annual Norwich Family YMCA Halloween Parade will begin at 11 a.m., with county residents in costume making their way down Broad Street to the parks. Families, businesses, schools, churches, clubs, police and fire departments, marching bands, and more are welcome to participate.

Following the parade, costume awards and raffles will be announced on the Chenango County Courthouse steps at noon.

Participants in the parade who would like to join the costume contest can have their costume judged by walking slowly past the judge's stand during or immediately after the parade.

Additionally, the YMCA, with support from the BID, will be hosting a house decorating contest. Families can decorate their homes and businesses can decorate their storefronts for Halloween, and submit them to trevoir@norwichymca.org by October 26. Winners will also be announced on the Courthouse steps at noon.

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Although the festival ends at 2 p.m., the Halloween fun doesn't stop there. Trunk or Treat will return to the Frontier parking lot from 3 to 5 p.m. and include around 30 businesses and families handing out candy.

Chawgo encourages area residents to stop by the parks on Saturday to check out the festivities, support local, and most importantly, enjoy the local community.

"I think it’s important to get out and support the families and support the local people and that literally trickles down the ladder to everybody. I mean, supporting any of your local vendors is supporting their family, which in turn they spend their money locally. So I think that’s huge," Chawgo said. "But getting out of the house and visiting and seeing what people are up to in this cold weather and this fall weather in New York is just as important for our mental health as well."

"The more we can get together and the more we can do together is better for everybody in the long run."

More information on Saturday's events can be found on the Norwich Business Improvement District Facebook page and the Norwich Family YMCA Facebook page.