Fall festive spirit in full colour during Petawawa Ramble
PETAWAWA, ONT. -- It is the height of fall festivities in Petawawa, Ont. this weekend, as the valley town marks their third annual Petawawa Ramble.
The town-wide festival takes place to reignite tourism to the area and bring residents out to local shops.
"Especially in the fall we are at our best," says Valerie Hyska, a member of the Ramble organizing committee and owner of the Your Independent Grocer in town. "So we decided to highlight that time of year and create a festival where all our local businesses could collaborate in an event on one weekend."
Due to pandemic restrictions in 2020, the Ramble's second edition was heavily scaled back. This year Hyska says half way through the weekend they are already seeing a much bigger turnout in the town.
"I think everybody's really feeling a little safer in the COVID environment, which is great to see, and most importantly that they are here shopping local and visiting our local businesses."
Highlighted this weekend was Valley Creations, a store selling only local and Canadian made products, which held its grand opening Friday. Owner Chelsea Malowski says opening during the Ramble provided a big boost at the start of her new venture.
"There's a definite push for the support local movement, obviously with the pandemic last year, mostly," Malowski told CTV News Ottawa. "But I think it's come full circle now that people realize we are here and you don't have to go to Walmart for everything."
The real eye catcher that draws attention during the Ramble weekend is the Pumpkin Folk Display contest. Residents and businesses set up displays that can be seen all across town, with scenes consisting of pumpkin people. Some displays are interactive, inspired by pop culture, or born out of pure creativity.
Regan Jones, 22, took home a second place ribbon for his unique Ghostbusters display.
"I wanted to make ours a little bit unique; it's fall, it's Halloween, so I thought the classic thing was Ghostbusters," says the life long Petawawa resident.
The display took a full two weekends to assemble in their front yard on Country Lane, and was a full-family effort. However, Jones says the creative direction was left to him.
"Then I thought it would be a little more unique if we had one (pumpkin Ghostbuster) getting slimed because that's one of the classic scenes in the movie," says Jones.
"A lot of people seem to like to get involved in the community here," the ribbon winner remarked, acknowledging his neighbours displays, which can be seen up and down the street. "So whenever there's an event like this I think a lot of people just do it."
While the push of the Ramble is to have more foot traffic at local businesses, a drive through town this weekend to see the displays will prove that the town's spirit for the season makes Petawawa a can't miss during fall.
"It's definitely an exciting time of year for the town of Petawawa," says Malowski, "it's fun, it's a sense of community, and there's a lot of people out and about."