By Vic McBride
Township Recreation Board Member
East Pennsboro Township is a collection of small villages without a central village green, common, or town square. As such, parks play a vital role in providing community play areas, sports fields/courts, picnic areas, and exercise paths for both group and individual activity. Adams-Ricci Park got its name because it’s built on two farms originally owned by the Adams and Ricci families. Group activities in the park allow people to gather as their kids play, meet new folks, and grow up to complete in a wide array of team sports.
My active participation at Adams-Ricci Park started when I was appointed to the township recreation board in 1998, after many years of coaching youth sports. By then, we had a community park with a few sports fields, pavilions, and courts. It was a good base, but we needed to grow the park to meet the needs of a rapidly growing community. Two major expansions increased the park to 125 acres and incorporated more sports fields, a great system of walking paths, and pavilions.
The township had always had a strong tradition of multiple Fireman’s Carnivals, but over time they died out. The Recreation Board decided to create an event to revive that tradition. The event we created became known as the Pennsboro Pumpkin Fest. This fall event started small in 1998 and has grown to 40,000 visitors each year. Volunteers and township staff plan and run the fair each year.
I became the committee head/event manager for the Pumpkin Fest in 1998 and continue to serve. It has been the most rewarding “job” I have ever had. Seeing thousands of families come to our free event to shop, enjoy music, and eat great food is very rewarding. The October event continues to be homecoming to many people who no longer live in the township. I’m proud to say that many churches, local businesses, school groups, and sports organizations participate in making Pumpkin Fest successful.
Having one big event and an excellent community-built playground called Imagination Station helped pull people from all parts of the township (and area) to a common place to relax and enjoy their time. Successful events seem to spawn more events sponsored by local emergency services, charitable organizations and corporations like Geisinger Holy Spirit.