Annual Pumpkin Festival returns to The Arboretum at Penn State on Oct. 15-16

October 05, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A pumpkin-carving contest and lighted jack-o'-lantern display will highlight Penn State’s annual Pumpkin Festival at The Arboretum at Penn State’s H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens Oct. 15 and 16.

Admission and parking are free for the festival. The Arboretum at Penn State, which is a Penn State Outreach service, is located on the corner of Bigler Road and East Park Avenue on the University Park campus.

The pumpkin giveaway for contest entrants will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 10. Approximately 1,000 pumpkins will be available while supply lasts, and contest participants also may use their own pumpkins. Jack-o'-lanterns may be registered for the contest from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 15, at the garden’s Overlook Pavilion.

Lighted jack-o'-lanterns at night

Winners will be selected in each age category, as well as the best-in-show, best pop culture theme, best Penn State theme and best Arboretum theme.

IMAGE: Penn State

During the day on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15 and 16, the public is invited to explore seasonal displays throughout the gardens, including autumn-themed planters and groupings of gourds in various colors, shapes and textures — one of which is a towering, multi-tiered arrangement at the Overlook Pavilion.

On both evenings, hundreds of jack-o’-lanterns will be displayed on the event lawn until 9 p.m., and food vendors will be on site. On Saturday from 3 to 6:30 p.m., there will be activities and games, a magician and strolling musicians.

Live music will be provided on Friday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. by a three-piece group, Lilting Banshee, playing traditional Celtic songs. On Saturday, Western Range will perform toe-tapping Texas swing, honky-tonk and rockabilly music from 5 to 8 p.m.

Festival goers are invited to bring flashlights to the evening events.

A judging panel of campus and community leaders will award ribbons for the best three jack-o'-lanterns in each age category, as well as the best-in-show, best pop culture theme, best Penn State theme and best Arboretum theme. Winners will be posted on Saturday, Oct. 16, in the gardens and on the Arboretum’s Facebook page and website.

Jack-o'-lanterns and ribbons may be picked up from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Oct. 17.

Visit the Arboretum’s website to learn more about the contest rules and the festival.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 05, 2021