Arboretum Pumpkin Festival to celebrate jack-o'-lantern creativity

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A pumpkin-carving contest and lighted jack-o'-lantern display will highlight The Arboretum at Penn State's sixth Pumpkin Festival, Oct. 9 and Oct. 14-15.

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.

Festival activities begin Sunday, Oct. 9, with a pumpkin give-away for contest entrants beginning at 1 p.m. and continuing while the supply lasts. 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. 13, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14. There will be seven 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.

From 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, 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.

 
Pumpkin Fest 2015 jack-o-lanterns and night sky

Jack-o'-lanterns illuminate the event lawn at the Arboretum at Penn State during the Arboretum's 2015 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. 14-15. The Arboretum at Penn State invites students and local residents to view the lighted jack-o'-lantern display. Guests should bring flashlights if visiting after dusk. Food vendors will be on-site both nights.

During the day on Friday and Saturday, the public 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, squash and cornstalks.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, family activities will be available in Childhood's Gate Children's Garden, on the event lawn, and at other locations in the gardens from 4 to 6 p.m. 

Jack-o'-lanterns and ribbons may be picked up from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16.

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

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Last Updated October 05, 2016