Bradford West Gwillimbury's Pumpkin Fest offered a series of “firsts” for the community.
“It is not only our first fall festival,” said Mayor Rob Keffer, but also a first glimpse of the new Henderson Memorial Park, on Line 9 just west of 10 Sideroad - a “100% accessible” park with ample parking, illuminated soccer pitches, tennis courts, basketball courts, picnic areas, a splash pad, playground, walking trails, and a modern “Field House” with change rooms and washrooms. “This is a park we can all be proud of.”
It was designed to be a sneak peek only, “to see the progress that has been made and the wonderful facility,” the mayor said. The park is still under construction, and doesn't officially open until Spring.
There was enough of a “wow” factor to impress the hundreds of families that came out for the special event on Saturday.
The park was made possible by the generous donation of 97 acres of farmland by Phyllis Henderson, in memory of her husband Cyril. The couple farmed the land for decades, until their retirement, and Phyllis gifted the land to the community, on the condition that it would be used for outdoor recreation.
Phyllis Henderson was the guest of honour at the event, which included live music, entertainment by Circus Jonathon and Lucy Loop, face-painting, pumpkin-carving, bouncy castles and an inflatable corn maze, Scouts' Apple Day, BWG Fire & Emergency Service's Fire Prevention Week demonstrations, and a BBQ by the Bradford Lions, raising funds for the Helping Hand Food Bank.
The Mayor thanked the Lions for their pledge of $225,000 over the next 10 years, to cover the costs of building the Field House; all of the companies that are currently at work on the park, “ensuring the community's vision has turned into a reality;” Tony's Farm Market for donating the pumpkins, but most of all, the Hendersons.
“We really are thankful, as a Town for their donation,” he said.
MP for York Simcoe, Peter Van Loan praised the “outstanding” facility, and the Town for its “vision of the future that will serve generations to come.”
The speeches were brief; the rest of the afternoon was devoted to Pumpkin Fest fun.