Fall festival shares pilgrim spirit

Walter Davis and Joanna Harrington play draughts at the 66th Annual Pilgrim Place Festival Saturday. Georgia Davis, Davis’ wife, gives game tips, as today’s game of checkers emerged from draughts. Most of the residents, who call themselves pilgrims, wore pilgrim costumes. The proceeds of the festival benefit financially struggling seniors at Pilgrim Place in Claremont. / photo by Helen Arase
Walter Davis and Joanna Harrington play draughts at the 66th Annual Pilgrim Place Festival Saturday. Georgia Davis, Davis’ wife, gives game tips, as today’s game of checkers emerged from draughts. Most of the residents, who call themselves pilgrims, wore pilgrim costumes. The proceeds of the festival benefit financially struggling seniors at Pilgrim Place in Claremont. / photo by Helen Arase
Nine-year-old Claremont resident Priscilla Kang takes part in children’s activities from Plymouth Colony Saturday at the 66th Annual Pilgrim Place Festival. The activities included calligraphy practice, soap making and butter churning by hand. In order to make butter, each jar is filled with a small amount of chilled heavy cream and shaken until the butterfat is separated from the skim milk. The finished batches of butter were tasted on saltine crackers. / photo by Helen Arase
Nine-year-old Claremont resident Priscilla Kang takes part in children’s activities from Plymouth Colony Saturday at the 66th Annual Pilgrim Place Festival. The activities included calligraphy practice, soap making and butter churning by hand. In order to make butter, each jar is filled with a small amount of chilled heavy cream and shaken until the butterfat is separated from the skim milk. The finished batches of butter were tasted on saltine crackers. / photo by Helen Arase

Emily Lau
Staff Writer

More than 10,000 people explored homemade crafts and enjoyed festivities as they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Pilgrim Place senior community Friday and Saturday at the 66th annual Pilgrim Place Festival in Claremont.

The two-day celebration featured activities that targeted attendees of all ages. From face painting to free blood pressure tests, both children and adults were assisted by residents who dressed up in handmade traditional pilgrim outfits for the occasion.

“This is an opportunity for Pilgrim Place to greet our neighbors and to tell them about Pilgrim Place and let people know who we are and what we’re doing,” Janet Evans, moderator of residents, said.

Pilgrim Place was founded in 1915 by members of the Claremont Congregational Church and Pomona College as a home for missionaries and their children. It is currently the home to more than 340 residents who have served in religious or charitable non-profit organization. Many residents continue their services and this forms a strong bond within the community.

The roads in Pilgrim Place were lined with booths and signs that directed visitors to their destinations. Multiple shuttles decorated as trains and ships transported people from one side of the community to the other.

Most of the booths were run by vendors selling various trinkets that were either donated or handmade by the residents. Buyers had an array of items to choose from including furniture, kitchenware, art and even Christmas decorations.

Children were entertained by different crafts and interactive activities. Tickets bought from stations called “Kiddie Kashiers” could be redeemed for face paintings and cotton candy. Children also enjoyed free events including a sing-a-long and Wampanoag storytelling.

Volunteers worked alongside the residents and assisted them with managing the booths. Linda Cammack, who has been volunteering at Pilgrim Place for over 30 years, was working at a booth that sold handmade knitted and crocheted accessories.

“(The festival) is open to people of all ages, so even though there are a lot of years, the festival stays the same.” Cammack said.

“The community comes out to support the festival because it goes towards the residents here.”

David and Judy Carrington, both volunteers and long-time residents of Claremont, were at one of the entrances handing out brochures and had interacted with many of the visitors as they entered.

“I think it’s great that everybody draws from such a big variety of people and everybody seems to be having a good time and enjoying the festival,” Judy Carrington said.

All proceeds from the festival are given to Pilgrim Place and help buy supplements needed to meet the daily expenses and attend to the residents, most importantly medical care and financial stability.

“All of the people who live here have either worked in churches or they’ve worked in non-profits and many of them have very limited income,” Evans said. “And so this is a fund that goes towards those people who have lived longer than the money they have in the banks.”

Emily Lau can be reached at emily.lau@laverne.edu.

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