WESTFIELD, NJ — The coronavirus pandemic can't keep those who love cartoonist Charles Addams' monstrous creatures down. The annual AddamsFest festival, which celebrates Westfield, N.J. native Addams and his characters, will have safe, "alternative" socially distanced activities this year.
Among the activities will be contests, window displays, pumpkin carving demos, and four drive-in movies.
The town released this announcement on Friday morning:
If isolation and distancing were an art, The Addams Family would be the masters. This year, their dynamic is on-brand as the wildly successful AddamsFest returns for a third year – this time, in a pandemic-friendly manner, and once again transforming Westfield with a uniquely exciting celebration honoring its own Charles Addams and his penchant for the macabre with a wide variety of events.
Dubbed “Alt AddamsFest” for 2020, the festivities will be shaped by creative approaches to gatherings that provide a safe environment while maintaining the initial spirit of the celebration.
Born in 1912 and raised in Westfield, Charles Addams was one of the country’s premier cartoonists, with his work prominently featured in The New Yorker. His most successful creation, The Addams Family, was inspired by his hometown surroundings. The characters that began as illustrations grew into a television series, a live action movie franchise, a Broadway musical, and last year’s Addams Family animated movie. In October, he will be posthumously inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. What better place to honor Addams’ talent and creativity than the town where he grew up?
“The return of AddamsFest is a wonderful way to provide the community with a celebration and connectedness during a year that has challenged us all,” said Mayor Shelley Brindle. “I’m thrilled that we are able to find innovative ways to have these festivities safely and keep the spirit of AddamsFest in Westfield for its third year.”
Mark your calendars for a variety of events to be held throughout an October like no other.
Wicked Windows of Westfield: Once again, AddamsFest promises to transform Westfield into a fanciful, spooky, kooky destination. Throughout October, residents and visitors can support Downtown Westfield and South Avenue businesses while taking in the Wicked Windows of Westfield, an artistic celebration of Halloween and The Addams Family.
Haunt Your House Contest: Back by popular demand! Get in the spirit of the season with Westfield’s third annual Haunt Your House contest. Once again, community members will tour Westfield to view the entries and vote for their favorites using an online map of participating homes. After spending so much time at home in 2020, the expectations are high – registration opens September 14!
Draw This in Your Own Style – The Addams Family: The “Draw This in Your Style Challenge” is a viral trend that emerged over the past few years on social media and art-oriented websites. The challenge begins with a posted piece of artwork and then challenges others to reinterpret that drawing or character in as many different styles as possible, often with amazing and inspiring results. AddamsFest will invite the public to participate in this contest by drawing one of Charles Addams’ specific iconic cartoons in their own style and sharing their entries on social media.
Mystical Mindowaskin: One of Westfield’s most picturesque destinations will be the site of a family-friendly, self-guided stroll that will evolve throughout October and include features such as the Painted Pumpkin Path, showcasing works of art presented by the Westfield Public Arts Commission; Quest for the Halloween Fairy Doors, a hunt to locate these hidden portals on various trees; an Enchanted Forest; the return of the Addams Family House on Mindowaskin Pond; and a variety of innovative photo stops along the way.
Maniacs’ Carving Contest: Join Brooklyn’s beloved Maniac Pumpkin Carvers via Zoom for a hands-on jack-o-lantern carving tutorial, and enter your creation for a chance to win prizes from local businesses.
Dudley’s Drive-In (October 23 and 30): A little bit retro and naturally socially distant, a drive-in is the perfect addition to the 2020 Alt AddamsFest line-up. The South Avenue train station lot will host four drive-in movie screenings:
Friday October 23, 6:30PM: It’s a Halloween pajama party for the families! Get comfy, put the kids in the car, and settle in for – what else? -- The Addams Family movie, set right here in New Jersey.
Friday, October 23, 9:00PM: The second shift is for the braver audiences, with a screening of the classic thriller Psycho.
Friday, October 30, 7:00PM: Pajama family screening of Hotel Transylvania.
Friday, October 30, 10:00PM: Calling all Brads and Janets (age 18+)! AddamsFest tradition lives on for a late-night screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Maybe hold on to that scarce toilet paper from this year and bring it along.
Tamaques Haunted Trail (October 24 and 25): Cars near and far are summoned to load up with passengers and drive through this new and immersive Halloween experience in Tamaques Park. By day, the Trick or Trail will welcome families for a spooky, age-appropriate event, while the distinctly haunted Trail of Terror will be held at night for more mature attendees seeking a frightful drive. Through a combination of live action and digital simulation, this innovative attraction for a pandemic-friendly environment aims to bring the spirit of the season to a variety of age groups.
Charles Addams: A New York State of Mind (October 29): Missing Manhattan? Join a virtual conversation with Kevin Miserocchi, Director of the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation, as he as he regales us with tales of the saucy side of his friend, Chas, and introduces us to the new book featuring illustrations of Addams’ beloved New York City, Addams’ Apple: The New York Cartoons of Charles Addams. Get a behind the scenes glimpse of Charles and Tee Addams’ home in the Hamptons (“The Swamp”), visit the pet cemetery where they were married, and explore the mysterious home where Charles Addams’ creations were born.
“Perhaps now more than ever, the essence of Charles Addams’ creations ring true with their odd, macabre take on everyday life, and themes of home and family at the core,” said Councilwoman Dawn Mackey, AddamsFest Chairperson. “We are thrilled to bring back this celebration of one of Westfield’s most notable residents in a newly re-imagined way that is reflective of the challenges, silver linings, and resiliency of 2020.”
Further details about this year’s line-up, as well as community partner events and additional surprises, will be announced in the coming weeks. Stay tuned as the altogether ooky events continue to unfold on the AddamsFest website (www.addamsfest.com) and social media channels (@addamsfest on Facebook and Instagram). All events are subject to change in accordance with public health guidelines. For more information on sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, please email email@example.com.
In other Patch news:
Westfield has gone a week without a new coronavirus case. Read more here.
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