The Arboretum at Penn State to host annual Pumpkin Festival Oct. 11, 16-17

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Arboretum at Penn State will host its fifth Pumpkin Festival Oct. 11 and Oct. 16-17, highlighted by a pumpkin-carving contest and lighted jack-o'-lantern display.

Festivities will take place in the Arboretum's H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, at the corner of Bigler Road and Park Avenue on the University Park campus. Admission is free.

Activities begin with a pumpkin giveaway for contest entrants beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 11. Approximately 1,000 pumpkins will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants also may use their own pumpkins.

Jack-o'-lanterns (one per person) may be registered for the contest from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16. There will be seven age categories: ages 2-4, ages 5-7, ages 8-10, ages 11-13, ages 14-17, Penn State student, and adult.

Registration will be held at the Overlook Pavilion in the Smith Botanic Gardens.

A panel of campus and community leaders will award ribbons for the best three jack-o'-lanterns in each age category, the best-in-show, the best jack-o'-lantern face, the best Penn State theme and the best Arboretum theme from 6 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16.

 
Pumpkin Fest 2014 best in show

This jack-o'-lantern was named best-in-show at the Arboretum's 2014 Pumpkin Festival.

Image: Penn State
 

Contest entries will be lighted and placed on display in the event lawn of the Smith Botanic Gardens from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 16-17. The Arboretum at Penn State invites students and local residents to view the lighted jack-o'-lantern display. Visitors are encouraged to bring flashlights if visiting after dusk. Food vendors will be on-site both nights.

On Saturday, Oct. 17, the public also is welcome to explore the gardens. In addition to many plants with fall interest (foliage, fruits and bark), there will be seasonal displays throughout the gardens, including ornamental gourds and cornstalks.

Family activities will be held in Childhood's Gate Children's Garden, on the event lawn, and at other locations in the gardens from 4 p.m. until dusk.

Jack-o'-lanterns and ribbons may be picked up from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 18.

To learn about the contest rules and the festival, visit the Arboretum's website.

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Last Updated October 02, 2015