This weekend is packed with events, from a local haunted Halloween castle to top-shelf music, including the award-winning blues ensemble of The Holmes Brothers and an Irish folk star at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport. Pumpkins are a featured element in at least a couple of these events.
Castle of Madnessat Hammond
For more than 25 years, the Halloween season has featured a haunted tour through Gloucester’s medieval Hammond Castle.
The all-new production for 2013 is called “Castle of Madness,” and features a never-before-attempted experiment to enter the mind of a killer and discover the motives. “The idea is to confront the primordial nightmares that lurk inside the human brain; Enter the mind of a murderer and solve the mystery,” according to organizers.
Tours take place this Friday and Saturday, and Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, from 7 to 11 p.m. with last tickets sold at 10:30 p.m. Both parking and ticketing for the event will only be at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester; there will not be ticketing or parking at the castle itself. Tickets are $15 and will be available on event days at Stage Fort Park, or in advance at HauntCastle.com. Be sure to bring payment vouchers if purchasing tickets in advance online. Free shuttle buses will make continual runs between Stage Fort Park and Hammond Castle. While at Stage Fort Park, there will be Halloween activities and festive foods.
The “Castle of Madness” is scary fun for nearly all ages. Parents should use discretion as the “Castle of Madness” is not recommended for young children. It is a 20- to 30-minute indoor and outdoor walking tour involving many stairs and uneven footing. Guests with limited movement are welcome to enjoy the midway at Stage Fort Park. For more information, visit www.HammondCastle.org.
Rockport Music line-up
There is a full lineup at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, starting with the blues ensemble The Holmes Brother tomorrow night, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m. with Sherman playing bass, Popsy on drums, and Wendell on guitar, along with his church-inspired piano playing. The brothers are also known for their three-part harmonies. They have won many Blues Music Awards and have shared stages and recordings with artists Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Willie Nelson, Peter Gabriel, and Rosanne Cash. The band blends Saturday night roadhouse rock with the gospel fervor and harmonies of Sunday morning church service. Their most recent album “Feed My Soul,” produced by longtime friend and collaborator Joan Osborne, is an album of friendship, loyalty, and family. The New York Times described their playing as, “timeless, soulful and uplifting gospel-drenched blues, street corner doo-wop, ballads, R&B, country and funk.”
On Saturday, Paul Brady, one of Ireland’s most highly regarded singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalist, will perform at 8 p.m. He crosses musical boundaries, incorporating folk, rock, blues, traditional Irish, and classic pop styles into his music. Brady’s songs have been covered by Bonnie Raitt, Tina Turner, Carlos Santana, and even Cher. His solo folk CD “Welcome Here Kind Stranger” won the Melody Maker Folk Album of the Year. He later released “Hard Station” in the early ’80s that launched him as an Irish rock artist. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Irish Music Awards.
Tickets for both concerts range from $19 to $34.
Also on Saturday is the Met Opera in HD, which presents Shostakovich’s “The Nose” at 12:55 p.m. For tickets and information, call 978-546-7391 or visit www.rcmf.org.
Art Haven hosting pumpkin contest
Art Haven will host its sixth annual pumpkin carving event on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Art Haven’s 180B Main St. location in Gloucester. Judging for best carved pumpkins will be held around the corner at The Hive, located at 11 Pleasant St. All pumpkins are welcome. Even if you didn’t carve it at Art Haven, bring your pumpkin down to the The Hive to enter the contest. Kids can enter to win first-, second- and third-place prizes for gift certificates to Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt. And it’s a costume party too.
Pumpkins will be supplied to children at the event while they last. Adults can carve for $5 for small pumpkins and $10 for large pumpkins. On Halloween Day, parents can bring their toddlers to Orange Leaf to paint pumpkins from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and costumes are strongly encouraged.
On Tuesday, Oct. 29, Alchemy Cafe and Bistro chef Scott Jensen will challenge chef Stacy Cogswell of Brookline’s Regal Beagle to a pumpkin throw-down.
While the chefs battle it out in the kitchen to see who can make the tastiest pumpkin dish. The restaurant is inviting artists and non-artists alike to enter its carved pumpkin contest, and for each pumpkin entered, Alchemy will donate $5 to The Open Door.
At the challenge, every guest will receive a signature cocktail made with Gloucester’s own Ryan & Wood spirits, a pumpkin dish from each chef, and the opportunity to cast their vote for the winner of both contests.
Contestants in the pumpkin carving challenge do not need to be present at the event itself to win; they simply need to bring their carved pumpkin to Alchemy anytime before 7 p.m. on Oct. 29.
Challenge cost is $25, and includes the two appetizer-sized portions, a cocktail and the ability to cast a vote in both contests.
Smith celebrates Mardi Gras-O-Ween
Celebrated New Orleans jazz vocalist Henri Smith will perform with his band at the Pub at Cape Ann Brewery, 11 Rogers St., Gloucester, next Thursday, Halloween night, at 8. This will be fun blending of two great traditions. Costumes are more than welcome.
Women’s Guild offers ham, bean supper
The Holy Family Women’s Guild will host an old-fashioned ham and bean supper with all the trimmings on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 5 p.m. at the church hall at St. Ann. During and after the supper, musical entertainment will be provided by the popular Gloucester High School Docksiders. Tickets for the evening are $15 for adults and $10 for children, with a family cap of $40. Tickets are available by calling Arlene at 978-281-2061 or Janet at 978-526-1543, and at the parish office.
Around Cape Ann is a column devoted to events happening on Cape Ann and artists from Cape Ann performing elsewhere. If you would like to submit an item, contact reporter Gail McCarthy at 978-283-7000 x3445, or gmccarthy@gloucestertimes.