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WHT 09.29.16-1

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Update to The Times election letters policy

With a Special Town Meeting scheduled for Monday, Oct. 24, no letters or guest columns regarding any warrant articles will appear in the Oct. 20 edition, the final edition before voting takes place. To submit opinions for publication in the Oct. 6 or Oct. 13 editions, send letters to the editor to twitkop@turley.com or mail to Editor, The Wilbraham-Hampden Times, c/o Turley Publications, 24 Water St., Palmer, MA 01069.
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For those who missed it, here is a snapshot of the annual Oktoberfest at Spec Pond Sept. 24. This year's event included a special dedication ceremony, naming the pavilion after Brad Pinney, founder of the Wilbraham Friends of Recreation, who passed in 2008.

TIMES staff photos by Tyler S. Witkop
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In this week's Times:
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Fundraiser shouts ‘Im Peached’

Campaign raises awareness and funds for Peach Festival revival

By Tyler S. Witkop
Turley Publications Staff Writer

WILBRAHAM – Amid a hotly contested and contentious Presidential Election season, residents around town are waking up to find their yards covered in a sea of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaign signs.
As their disbelief, fear or anger subsides, they may notice at the center a giant red sign reading “Yikes! Im peached!”
Designed as a fun play on the words “I’m peached” and “Impeached,” the sign blitz is part of an awareness and fundraising campaign to revive the Wilbraham Peach Festival. Called the Peach Blossom Festival, a group of dedicated residents organized to bring back the community staple in June 2017.
For the campaign, which kicked off at the home of Sue Prairie in the overnight hours of Sept. 16, folks pay $40 to blanket the lawns of their friends and neighbors. With a donation, the committee will remove the signs and place them on another lawn during the election season.
According to Jennifer Powell, one of the organizers of the Peach Blossom Festival, the idea sprung from the fact that very few homes had signs pertaining to the Democratic and Republican nominees for commander-in-chief.
“We got our inspiration from the YMCA’s ‘Crazy Daisies’ campaign,” Powell said. “It’s really a marketing tool where we’ll build awareness and raise money.”
She explained that some may notice that there are more Trump signs than Clinton ones, which she said is only the result of the price disparity between the two campaigns. The Trump signs can be obtained for $1, while the Clinton signs are more than 10 times that amount.
In less than one week from the start of the fundraiser, she said the signs had been passed on eight times and the longest the signs remained on a yard was 12 hours. Keeping with the playful intent, she noted only one person had complained about the signs being distasteful.
Currently, there are enough signs for the group to cover two yards at a time.
“One person approached us and said ‘I want immunity,’” Powell said. That resident paid $40 to keep the signs off his yard.
Powell explained the new Peach Blossom Festival will launch Saturday, June 17, 2017 at Fountain Park. Keeping in mind some of the issues that past Peach Festival organizers had getting volunteer help, the new group felt they could get more help and perhaps even larger crowds before the summer vacation season starts. June also happens to coincide with the peach harvest.
She noted there had been some pushback from the community with the date, as the Peach Festival always took place at the end of August.
“Our approach is much different,” she said, noting they want to concentrate on an entirely local-driven event, from food to entertainment.
With eight residents getting the festival off the ground, they felt they needed to stay as local as possible. To stay local, they have come up with a saying, “Have you touched the peach?,” meant to bolster community participation from fundraising to volunteerism.
A taste of what residents can expect next year includes a food tent, history barn, homemade carnival, entertainment and boutiques. Powell is in charge of food, Amy Smith is working on the boutiques, Carolee McGrath is leading the search for local entertainers and Colleen Mumper is helping with the homemade carnival.
Those looking for more information or to participate are encouraged to attend a general meeting Sunday, Nov. 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Red Barn at Fountain Park. Additionally, information is available online at peachblossomfestival.org.
To participate have a neighbor’s yard “Im peached,” visit the group’s website or call 596-9628.
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