Pumpkin Fest - a fun, free, family event where kids can hunt holiday squash from a pumpkin patch made especially for them - returns to the Silverthorne Pavilion for the 11th year on Sunday. As in past years, the pumpkins are free, one per child while supplies last. However, while the offer of free pumpkins stands, this year's event promises hours of fun outside the pumpkin patch too.
"We are extending hours and adding free activities for the kids," said Blair Lollis, Silverthorne Pavilion and marketing coordinator.
New activities include a petting zoo and kids' games like conk a crow, lasso the longhorn and a cow pie toss. There will be three bounce houses, free face painting and a few trucks from the Public Works department so kids can "touch a truck," Lollis said.
In the past, Pumpkin Fest has taken place closer to the end of the month. Children arrive in costume, grab a pumpkin and head off to the Outlets at Silverthorne to trick or treat.
This year, families are invited to stay awhile at the pumpkin patch. "We're bringing back the 'fest' in Pumpkin Fest," Lollis said. "It will not be the mad dash it has been in years past. You don't have to be there right at 11 a.m. to get a pumpkin."
Instead, this year's event is designed to build community. "We want people to come out and grab a pumpkin, and while the kids are running around we want neighbors to be able to enjoy each other's company, grab some coffee and just be out and about enjoying their community," Lollis said. "It's a community event, geared around locals."
The pumpkins are sourced from Rocky Mountain Pumpkin Patch's Longmont farms. The group farms 1,000 acres, divided between ten farms, on land leased from Boulder County Open Space. All of their produce is USDA Certified Organic.
"I love the pumpkins that they provide," Lollis said, commenting on both their size and condition. Organizers ordered 750 pumpkins in total.
Since families will "pick" them in mid-October this year, they'll have plenty of time to carve and enjoy their jack-o-lanterns before Halloween.
Pumpkin Fest is sponsored by the Outlets at Silverthorne and Red Buffalo Coffee and put on by the town of Silverthorne. Red Buffalo will serve free hot chocolate, coffee and tea from noon to 1 p.m. Children, both big and small, are invited to test-drive their costumes at Sunday's event.
On Oct. 30, the Outlets at Silverthorne will again host Trick or Treat Off Main Street, distributing candy, stickers or treats to kids from 2-4 p.m. while offering holiday shopping specials for parents.