WILTON — A pumpkin parade precedes a polar bear plunge Saturday during a day packed with activities downtown.

The polar bear plunge started as a fundraiser for Western Maine Community Action and has grown with the addition of Pumpkin Fun, offered with support by the Wilton Downtown Committee.

So far, donors have promised more than $1,100 to support WMCA’s effort to raise about $10,000 that was not in the county budget this year. Some of that money helps local residents with heating their homes this winter, Judy Frost of WMCA said Monday. 

About a dozen people plan to take the plunge in Wilson Lake across from Bass Park at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, she said. More information about the plunge is available at http://razoo.com/team/Polar-Plunge-Freezin-For-A-Reason.

Pledges are still being taken and donations will be accepted on Saturday, she said.

The public is invited to dress in Halloween costumes, collect an orange balloon from Expenet Technologies or a black balloon from the Wilton Hardware Store, both on Main Street, and join the Pumpkin Parade at 1:30 p.m. to march from the monument to Bass Park to see the plunge, said Betty Shibles for the Wilton Downtown Committee.

A gymnastics group will perform at the park and the balloons will be released over the lake, she said.

Activities begin Friday, Oct. 25, with the play, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Pumpkin?” featuring area children ages 5-16, she said. The play starts at 4 p.m. at the Wilton Congregational Church.

In the play, the pumpkin goes on trial, with a witch claiming the pumpkin is not scary enough for Halloween, Shibles said.

The cast invites the public to join them for a baked-potato spread at 5 p.m. after the production. Donations from the play and a $5 fee for the potato spread will go to the WMCA program, Shible said.

On Saturday morning, downtown businesses are providing the fun, including pumpkin breakfast items at Ray Ray’s Cafe and Sweet Treats, pumpkins painted on nails at ProNails and wicked witches cutting hair at Village Studio.

Children and adults can bring their own carved pumpkins or decorate pumpkins from Food City with items from Everyone’s Resource Depot from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Wilton Congregational Church. The pumpkins will be placed in the “pumpkin patch” on the church steps for judging.

Cassie the Witch will host a pumpkin tea party at the Wilton Free Public Library from 10 to 11:30 a.m. She will read a story at 10:30 a.m.

For youngsters 12 to 16, a pumpkin pie-eating contest takes place at 12:30 p.m. at Bradley’s Pizza and a pumpkin-electric slide dance takes place at 1 p.m. on the sidewalk in front of KeyBank.

Following the plunge, participants will go to Calzolaio Pasta Co. for an after-party thaw. Everyone else is welcome to visit the Wilton Farm and Home Museum from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. for hot chocolate and pastries. The event is hosted by the Wilton Historical Society.

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