UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Arboretum at Penn State will host a pumpkin festival, Oct. 16-22, featuring a pumpkin-carving contest and lighted jack-o'-lantern display.
Festivities will take place in the Arboretum's H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, located at the corner of Bigler Road and Park Avenue on the University Park campus. Admission is free.
Festival activities begin with a pumpkin giveaway for contest entrants from Sunday through Tuesday, Oct. 16-18. Five hundred pumpkins will be available (first come, first served) at the following times: 1 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday and from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.
Participants also may provide their own pumpkins.
Jack-o'-lanterns (one per person) may be registered for the contest from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20, and from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 There will be six categories: ages 2-4, ages 5-7, ages 8-10, ages 11-13, ages 14-17 and adult.
Registration will be held in a small tent adjacent to the parking lot of the Smith Botanic Gardens.
The first 500 people to enter a jack-o'-lantern will receive a gift certificate for an ice cream cone from the Penn State Berkey Creamery.
Ribbons for the best jack-o'-lantern in each category, as well as the best-in-show entry, will be awarded by a panel of campus and community leaders between 4 and 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22.
Contest entries will be lighted and placed on display in the Event Lawn of the Smith Botanic Gardens on both Friday and Saturday evenings from 5 until 10 p.m. on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22. The Arboretum at Penn State invites students and other local residents to view the lighted jack-o'-lantern display.
On Saturday, Oct. 22, the public also is welcome to explore the gardens. In addition to the many plants with fall interest (foliage, fruits and bark), there will be seasonal displays throughout the gardens, including mums and up to 17 varieties of ornamental gourds.
Light refreshments will be served at the Overlook Pavilion from 2 until 8 p.m. on Oct. 22. Ribbons may be picked up from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23.
To learn about the contest rules and the festival, visit the Arboretum's website at http://www.arboretum.psu.edu/index.html.