By Christine Bryant
A favorite fall event among Westside residents will return once again this year.
Mums & Mummies, a fall celebration that includes both Halloween and autumn-related activities, will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 19 at the enclosed shelter house at Westgate Park. The event is hosted by Friends of Westgate Park and the Westgate Neighbors Association.
“Last year’s was a big hit with children and their parents,” said Sue Laughlin, president of Friends of Westgate Park. “This year, we’re looking forward to an even bigger event.”
Mums & Mummies originally began as two separate events – one showcasing fall mums as a fundraiser and the other as a family Halloween event.
“Our objective was to invite the public into the park to see and enjoy our collection of hand-raised Belgian mums, and hopefully, send folks home with one or two,” Laughlin said.
“The mum sale and raffle was, and is, our primary fundraiser for the year.”
At the same time, the Westgate Neighbors Association had been hosting an annual fall family event called Boo on Binns.
Last year, the two organizations combined their events to form Mums & Mummies, with the Westgate Neighbors Association providing the Halloween portion of the event with food, costume contests for kids and pets, crafts, a reading corner with mildly scary Halloween stories, and trunk or treating – trick or treating from tree to tree.
“It was the perfect marriage of colorful fall colors from the trees and the amazing Belgian mums and all the fun of Halloween,” said Betty Jaynes, president of the Westgate Neighbors Association. “The WNA and FOWP work closely to highlight all Westgate Park has to offer, and both groups understand how blessed we are to have such a wonderful place as the centerpiece of our neighborhood.”
At this year’s event, visitors will see the return of their favorite fall colors and arrangements.
“Friends of Westgate Park will offer our best mums for sale in pots, and the very unique mum towers that were so popular last year,” Laughlin said. “They’re perfect for hanging in your garden for vertical interest.”
The organization also will have a raffle for mums and other surprise items, as well as a bake sale.
“Guests can stroll through and around the mum beds to enjoy the beautiful fall color,” Laughlin said. “Our research bed will include 80 varieties we received from Gro-Link, a national Belgian mum grower and distributor in Oxnard, Calif.”
Friends of Westgate Park volunteers will test them for winter hardiness and relay their information to Gro-Link, she said.
“Our Mr. Mum, Tom Prince, will be on hand to tell us everything we always wanted to know about mums,” Laughlin said.
New this year, Kristi Crissinger, the organization’s rain garden expert, will be on hand to show guests how the rain garden at Westgate Park supports the lives of butterflies, birds and other small critters, as well as helps to filter run-off water from the parking lot.
“Any extra new baby plants from the garden will be available at no cost to plant in your own gardens at home,” Laughlin said.
With several new residents moving into Westgate, Jaynes says this is a chance for new and old residents to meet one another.
“Families of young children can connect with our Moms Group,” Jaynes said. “And everyone can experience a Sunday in the park. We know that bringing neighbors together makes for a more connected and stronger neighborhood.”