AddamsFest will return in Westfield this fall, transforming the town into a unique celebration honoring its own Charles Addams and his penchant for the macabre with a wide variety of events.
Born in 1912 and raised in Westfield, Addams was one of the country’s premier cartoonists, with his work prominently featured in "The New Yorker." His most successful creation, "The Addams Family," was inspired by his hometown surroundings. The characters that began as illustrations grew into a television series, live-action movie franchise, Broadway musical, two “Addams Family” animated movies and the coming "Wednesday" series on Netflix. He was posthumously inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2020.
AddamsFest is greeting the next celebration with a return to more traditional experiences, including family-friendly events, lectures, exhibits, film screenings and some adult-only fare.
Back for 2022 is the Addams Family House on Mindowaskin Pond, the Wicked Windows of Westfield and the Haunt Your House contest. Addams-inspired murals will be on display showcasing the work of local artists on both sides of the underpass on Central Avenue.
From Oct. 14-30, "Evolution: Addams and the Artistic Process" will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Fridays, noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays at the Center for Creativity at the Rialto. Featuring original works, rough drafts and more on loan from the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation, the exhibit not only gives a glimpse into Addams' process but will display the work of local students who participated in a weeklong AddamsFest cartooning workshop in August.
Partygoers will dance the night away at the sold-out Morticia & Gomez’s Masquerade Ball on Oct. 14 at the James Ward Mansion. Joining the couple, attendees dressed to kill will feast on Addams-inspired gourmet fare, sip smoldering libations and dance the night away in an interactive setting.
Considered the "most in-demand event of the season," Charlie’s Ale Garden will be open from 5 to 11 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Westfield Armory. Able to again be inside the spacious venue, the night will feature a lineup of local bands and headliner "Saved by the 90s." Food truck fare and beverages are sold separately with beer and wine offered by Harvest Restaurant Group.
Advance tickets for Charlie’s Ale Garden will be $25 each, with a limit of four per household, and include event entry, a commemorative cup and live entertainment. Entrants must be 21 and provide proof of age. Ticket sales are based on indoor capacity of the Armory. If weather allows for expansion of the event to the outdoor area, additional tickets will be sold several days beforehand.
Complete with a shadow cast, the Cranford Theater is host to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" at 10 p.m. Oct. 22. Also, a family-friendly Halloween movie classic will be shown at the Rialto on Oct. 29.
"Chatting with Charlie" is the latest installment of Gomez’s Lecture Series, which brings artists, scholars and entertainers together to discuss aspects of Charles Addams’ life and art. In 1981, Addams sat down with PBS’s John Callaway for a conversation about the artistic process, his life growing up in Westfield and all things Addams.
The Center for Creativity at the Rialto will host a screening of the interview at 7 p.m. Oct. 27. Following the interview, light refreshments will be served while guests enjoy a private tour of "Evolution: Charles Addams and the Artistic Process" and a Q&A with Tee & Charles Addams Foundation Executive Director Kevin Miserocchi.
While other kids were out frolicking with friends, a young Addams spent his time hanging out in Westfield's oldest cemetery − The Presbyterian Church of Westfield's Burial Grounds. Part of the Gomez's Lecture Series, 20-minute lantern tours given by the Presbyterian Church of Westfield will highlight the allure for the young artist. To book a tour, go to bit.ly/PCW-LanternTour. Tours run in 10-minute intervals from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 15. The suggested donation is $5 per person/$10 per family.
Addams Family Fun Day is planned for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 16. Closed to cars for the day, downtown's Quimby Street will see “Addams Family” character visits, live performances including local youth bands, displays by the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers and OMG Bubbles, readings of "Tonight, Tonight is Halloween" by author Peter Lyons, pumpkin decorating, activities with local merchants and a community art project with street artist Norman Kirby.
For more information, go to www.addamsfest.com, or follow along on Facebook and Instagram (@addamsfest).
Cheryl Makin is an award-winning features and education reporter for MyCentralJersey.com, part of the USA Today Network. Contact: Cmakin@gannettnj.com or @CherylMakin. To get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
This article originally appeared on MyCentralJersey.com: AddamsFest returns in Westfield NJ in October