Four Weekends of Artistic Pumpkin Displays at Silvermont Park - TribPapers

Four Weekends of Artistic Pumpkin Displays at Silvermont Park

A lovely butterfly display can be seen at the Pumpkin Fest. Photo courtesy of Friends of Silvermont.

Brevard – The 7th annual Pumpkin Fest is being held on weekends (Friday and Saturday) throughout October from 6:00-9:30 pm. This event features some incredible artistic lighted pumpkin displays and many family-friendly activities. The park at the Silvermont Mansion at 364 East Main Street in Brevard will be filled with artistic, fun exhibits (carved styrofoam pumpkins, lit up like magic in many colors) in scenes like “Under the Sea,” “Pirates, “Totem Garden,” and “Sea Serpent.” Joe Dapkins, with the help of the Friends of Silvermont and its president, Erik Rasmussen, has been the head of Pumpkin Fest. This Fest supports the wonderful county park of Silvermont and the Senior Citizen Center/community building.

There are a lot of kid-friendly events, but it’s also a great date night for everyone, which includes local musicians performing and the stunning historic mansion open for tours. This is considered a fall festival; not a scary or typical Halloween event, but magical and eye-catching for visitors to enjoy a fall evening outside in the park. There will be trail actors interacting with guests, a roaming white squirrel, and more. Games, face painting, food trucks, musicians, storytelling, and tours of the historic mansion are throughout the park. To be noted: Silvermont Park has a fine gravel trail, which works well for strollers but does not meet ADA standards for wheelchairs.

The well-received 2021 “White Squirrel Circus” display returns again this year, as well as 18 other lighted pumpkin displays, such as Butterfly Garden, Pirates Cove, Under the Sea, Witches Garden, Ghost Circle, Totem Garden, and more. A new 2022 exhibit has been developed by the Friends of Silvermont’s Pumpkinteers that ties together many of the other exhibits. It was designed by Jeanne Hunter, who incorporated poignant poems about Syd, The Lost Little White Squirrel, as she searches frantically for her family. Several new photo-op sites will also be set up throughout the Pumpkin Fest displays. The Pumpkin Fest is the major fundraiser put on by the Friends of Silvermont to help maintain and improve Silvermont Park and its 105-year old historic mansion. It is supported by a grant from the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority.

Food trucks will be there from 6-9 pm and will vary depending on the specific evening. You will find Toasted Cuban, Passmore BBQ, Jinny Mini Donuts, Big Pasta, Haus Heidelberg, Glyklalogy Donuts, Feta Flav, and Unusual Suspect Sandwiches. Some of the musicians scheduled to play are Nikki Talley and Jason Sharp, McIntosh and the Lionhearts, Big Eyed Rabbit, Two Step Too, Unpaid Bill and the Bad Czechs, Byrds and Crows, and the Outside Dogs.

The Silvermont Mansion

Silvermont became the home of Joseph and Elizabeth Silversteen and their children in 1917. Joseph Silversteen was a highly successful industrialist, as a tanner and a lumberman, and was known for his generosity and philanthropy. The couple were actively involved in the community. Joseph was a Master Mason and belonged to the Kiwanis and Elks Clubs and professional societies. Elizabeth was particularly active in the Daughters of the American Revolution, holding local, state, and national offices.

When the last living daughter, Dorothy (Bjerg), died in 1972, with no posterity, she willed the entire Silversteen residence to Transylvania County. Unfortunately, over time, Silvermont was neglected, and it fell into a state of disrepair. The home was not maintained. A committee appointed by the Board of Commissioners recommended that the Silvermont mansion be demolished. But on January 26, 1981, a group of concerned citizens informed the Board that they were strongly opposed to such a destructive action. The Board then voted to salvage the Silvermont mansion and approved the formation of Friends of Silvermont, a group of local citizens.

Now the house is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. On the first floor, it houses the Silvermont Opportunity Center, Transylvania County’s senior center,event space for clubs and classes, and is the site for congregate meals. On the 2nd floor there is a house museum restored to reflect the era and lifestyle of the Silversteens with appropriate furnishings, open to the public with limited hours. In addition, the grounds and gardens are beautifully maintained and are an educational resource for the community. More details on the family and the history of the house can be found at Much of the information written here has been taken from this website.

Although the Silversteens are now all deceased, their legacy lives on in the form of Silvermont, the 33-room colonial revival house with spacious grounds, where the 7th annual Pumpkin Fest is to be held this October.

Festival Information

Silvermont Park is located at 364 East Main Street in Brevard. Admission is $5 per person (ages 2 and over) in cash and check with identification or $5.25 with a credit or debit card. Onsite parking is $5 cash per car, but free parking is available offsite on nearby streets. There is free parking with a handicap sticker onsite.