UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A pumpkin-carving contest and lighted jack-o'-lantern display will highlight The Arboretum at Penn State's third Pumpkin Festival, Oct. 13 to 19.
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 with a pumpkin giveaway for contest entrants from 1 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Oct. 13 and 14. More than 700 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. until 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, and from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18. There will be seven categories: Ages 2 to 4, Ages 5 to 7, Ages 8 to 10, Ages 11 to 13, Ages 14 to 17, Penn State Student and Adult.
Registration will be held in a small tent adjacent to the parking lot of the Smith Botanic Gardens.
The first 100 people to enter a jack-o'-lantern will receive a gift certificate for an ice cream cone from the Penn State Berkey Creamery.
A panel of campus and community leaders will award ribbons for the best three jack-o'-lanterns in each category, the best-in-show, the best jack-o'-lantern face, the best Penn State theme, and the best Arboretum theme between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18.
Contest entries will be lighted and placed on display in the event lawn of the Smith Botanic Gardens from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Oct. 18 to 19. The Arboretum at Penn State invites students and local residents to view the lighted jack-o'-lantern display.
On Saturday, Oct. 19, 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 mums, ornamental gourds and cornstalks.
Refreshments will be served at the Overlook Pavilion from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 19. From 4 p.m. until dusk, visitors will have an opportunity to make cornhusk dolls to take home or to make scarecrows that will be placed throughout the gardens as decorations. There also will be a designated area where storytelling (appropriate for all ages) will be provided.
Jack-o'-lanterns and ribbons may be picked up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20.
To learn about the contest rules and the festival, visit the Arboretum's website.