UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A pumpkin-carving contest and lighted jack-o'-lantern display will highlight The Arboretum at Penn State's annual Pumpkin Festival, set for Oct. 6 and Oct. 11-12.
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.
Events begin Sunday, Oct. 6, with a pumpkin giveaway for contest entrants from 1 to 3 p.m. Approximately 1,000 pumpkins will be available while the supply lasts.
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. 11, at the Overlook Pavilion in the botanic gardens.
A judging 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 pop culture theme, the best Penn State theme, and the best Arboretum theme.
During the day on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11 and 12, the public is welcome to explore seasonal displays throughout the gardens. Hundreds of jack-o’-lanterns will be displayed on the event lawn until 9 p.m. both evenings, and food vendors will be on site as well. Festival goers are invited to bring flashlights.
On Oct. 12 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., festival activities will include hands-on family crafts, face painting, a magician and strolling musicians. The band, Western Range, will perform toe-tapping Texas swing, honky-tonk and rockabilly music from 5 to 8 p.m.
Jack-o'-lanterns and ribbons may be picked up from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Oct. 13.
To learn about the contest rules and the festival, visit the Arboretum's website.