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Pilgrim Place remembers the past

The annual fall festival is held in Claremont.

Wamapanoag Indian Village, Mayflower-On-Wheels, Indian Drumming and “The Festival Thanksgiving Show” were all part of Claremont’s 61st annual Pilgrim Place Festival. The festival consisted of a two-day celebration featuring crafts, talents and activities of residents in the surrounding community. All proceeds went to benefit residents requiring financial supplements to meet daily expenses. Jim Manley watches as his wife Judy Manley coils her yarn that she had just finished spinning for the visitors. / photo by Rafael Anguiano

Wamapanoag Indian Village, Mayflower-On-Wheels, Indian Drumming and “The Festival Thanksgiving Show” were all part of Claremont’s 61st annual Pilgrim Place Festival. The festival consisted of a two-day celebration featuring crafts, talents and activities of residents in the surrounding community. All proceeds went to benefit residents requiring financial supplements to meet daily expenses. Jim Manley watches as his wife Judy Manley coils her yarn that she had just finished spinning for the visitors. / photo by Rafael Anguiano

Natalie Veissalov
Editor in Chief

Residents at Pilgrim Place in Claremont, dressed in traditional pilgrim attire – felt hats, coifs, aprons, petticoat and doublets – hosted its annual two-day Pilgrim Festival on Nov. 13-14.

The proceeds from the festival go to residents of Pilgrim Place, a senior community for people who have or continue to serve in religious or charitable organizations, who have run out funds to sustain themselves and need financial help to continue to live.

There were all sorts of booths and entertainment for adults and children including face painting, crafts, and the selling of silver jewelry, pottery, sculptures, used books, plants, vintage clothing, paintings, stained glass items, natural décor and woven, crocheted, or knitted goods, which have been donated or handmade by those who live at Pilgrim Place.

“We do this for the community. It is a chance to meet some people in the community,” said Audrey Lightbody, a Pilgrim Place resident, who has been weaving items to sell at the festival since 1991.

“All the money we take in is for the Residence Health and Support Pro­gram,” she said.

Children had plenty to do while at the festival, including watching a show put on by the Pilgrim Place residents called “The Festival Thanks­giving Story,” playing a game at the Environmental Concerns booth to see if they (children) are taking steps to protect the earth and Massasoit Super Chief ride.

There was also a booth called Nature Frames where children had their picture taken and then decorated their frame with pine leaves, fall leaves, tiny pine cones and acorns.

Many children made up to three frames to give to parents and grandparents as a Christmas gift and some children were very meticulous in how they glued their pines, leaves and acorns, said June Boutwell, volunteer at the Pilgrim Place Festival.

“Where you make the picture frames and the face painting,” said Ayanna Agretano, a 7-year-old student at Mountain View Elementary in Claremont, about her favorite part of the festival. “It was really fun.”

To satisfy their sweet tooth, many enjoyed a snow cone, cotton candy, homemade baked goods and ice cream bars.

However, the long walk through all the booths made many hungry and lined people up to eat chili dogs, chili bowls, salad, coleslaw and hamburgers.

There was also an outdoor luncheon that served chicken, rice pilaf, green beans, rolls and apple pie.

“All of us are retired missionaries, ministers or were part of the YMCA or YWCA,” said Henry Hayden, a Pilgrim Place resident since 1988 and painter. “All of us here have creative talents.”

Hayden painted 100 water color paintings to sell at the festival.

“Painting has changed my life,” Hayden said.

“It was an incentive to overcome my paralysis and paint again,” Hayden, who has had extensive back surgery, said.

Hayden was involved in many movements before he came to live at Pilgrim Place, including the civil rights movement and gay rights movement.

“We are all interested in peace and justice issues,” Hayden said. “We have racial diversity at Pilgrim Place.”

“It is an activity that binds us all together,” he said.

Nancy Wittler, a resident at Pilgrim Place, sold her hand painted Turkish decorative designs at the festival.

While living in Turkey for 37 years, she learned how to create these designs.

“The fact we get acquainted with the community and the community gets acquainted with our community,” Wittler said about her favorite part of the festival.

“I think this is the busiest retirement place in the world,” said Earl Bergh, a Pilgrim Place resident.

Natalie Veissalov can be reached at natalie.veissalov@laverne.edu.

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