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Silver Gate Harvest Festival

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

by Max Allen

For 20 years, Silver Gate Elementary has hosted one of Point Loma’s Halloween highlights: the Silver Gate Harvest Festival. This family-friendly event provides a night of fun for the whole neighborhood, and the money raised supports programs at the elementary such as their garden and STEAM lab.

Main chair Elise Plutt describes getting ready for the big day as “planning a wedding for thousands of people, but you also have to purchase supplies for an unknown RSVP since the attendance is purely estimated.”

She is supported by her co-chair Rebekah Bolton, the Friends of Silver Gate, and volunteers from the community. Volunteer committee chair Michele Baranski emphasized the importance of volunteers because, “Without them, parents would need to volunteer their time and be unable to participate in the festivities with their children.”

These festivities become more ambitious every year! In the past few years, giant inflatable slides, obstacle courses, pony rides, and a petting zoo have been notable additions. The new attractions work perfectly with traditional activities like cookie decorating, a cake walk, and a bake sale that are charming in their simplicity.

However, the day’s main event is always the famous Haunted Hallway. Screams and laughter can be heard from the area throughout the event! Heading the Haunted Hallway Committee are parents Matt Hiland and Eddie Ortega, who “work hours and hours the whole week leading up to the event to get it ready.” As a Silver Gate alum and parent, Elise Plutt highly recommends it.

Both Elise and her husband are alumni of the elementary school and PLHS. She describes going to the festival as a full-circle experience. Her daughter will be volunteering at a booth this year and for her, “it’s so special that our two kids get the opportunity to look forward to this incredible event each year.”

Leading up to the event, Elise Plutt says the hard-working committees, “live and breathe by a shared Google sheet.“ As a volunteer myself, this was evident. There was an organized rotation of shifts and breaks, as well as opportunities for those helping out to enjoy the event themselves!

After coming back from a COVID hiatus, the festival was moved to Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. so it would be more inclusive to kids of all ages. It was great to see such a range of local students from high school, middle school, to elementary and younger; there were activities for everyone.

Aside from the Halloween spirit that this event brings to the community, the Harvest Festival is also an important fundraising event. Elise Plutt says it’s critical “to supplement classroom teachers’ materials, student field trips, and overall grade-level grants to give them special materials needed for student projects.” One of the ways to contribute is by participating in the auction for a chance to take home unique art projects that are created by each class!

Whether you’re one of the hundreds of volunteers needed to keep the day running smoothly or an excited attendee of the event in the future, Silver Gate Elementary is sure to appreciate your support of this local spooky season staple!


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