The Mazzone Pumpkinfest has been bringing delight to residents on its block for 14 years, but the event didn’t always need the entire block. The event started with just a few tables in front of the Brooklyn location of Mazzone Ace Hardware, a neighborhood staple since 1950 that now has three locations. The event held the first week of October brings joy to local residents and raises money for local causes.
“The entire event was designed around giving kids and families something fun to do,” owner Matt Mazzone says. “I took over the business in my 20s right out of college, married my wife and started a family. You start thinking about those things when your life changes.”
What started as a few pumpkins to paint and a popcorn machine on the sidewalk has given way to tables stretching down the block with pumpkins and decorating supplies as well as vendors that also contribute to the fundraiser. Since becoming an Ace business five years ago, Mazzone has collected donations in the name of the Children’s Miracle Network and proceeds have gone to Cohen Children’s Medical Center on Long Island.
“We’re dedicated to keeping the funding local, because everything about this event is fostering community ties in our corner of this city,” Mazzone says. “We’ve had families that have been affected by life-threatening diseases come up to us at the event and talk about how much Pumpkinfest means to them.”
Depending on the weather, the one-day event can draw up to 3,000 people, Mazzone says, and it consistently raises around $10,000 for its fundraising partners.