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Inaugural Jack-o’-Lantern Contest at Arboretum Saturday

First thing that comes to mind regarding October and fall, Halloween… okay, second thing: pumpkins. The Arboretum at Penn State (near the intersection of Park Avenue and Bigler Road) is holding its first seasonal event. You’ll see a lot of orange. That’s the place.

This pumpkin festival started its festivities on Oct. 16, giving away 509 pumpkins. Why, you ask? Well, the giveaways were for anyone who had registered to enter the jack-o’-lantern contest. These pumpkins were first-come, first-served. When I was little, I’d always look out for that “perfect” pumpkin—the one without any junk on it, so this was a minor yet vital part of the contest.

Don’t be discouraged, though! For those of you who did not receive a pumpkin may still enter the contest but you must bring your own pumpkin- even though it might not have been free, it’ll be dent free and just orange (none of that green crap).

Schedule for today and tomorrow:

Once carved and ready, you must register your entry between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., which will be located in a tent next to the parking lot of the Smith Botanic Gardens. Try to be the first of 500 entries for a gift certificate for the Berkey Creamery.

All entries will be publicly viewed today and tomorrow, from 5-10 p.m. Because it starts to get darker earlier, the viewing will have all of the pumpkins lit up (but do not bring your own candle—see bottom for certain rules).

Hungry while pleasantly strolling through a field of pumpkins? In company of the fall spirit, you can nosh on some refreshments such as popcorn, apples, cider, and hot chocolate. Assuming it’ll be cold this should come in handy! Get it while it’s hot; refreshments will only be available from 2-8 p.m. tomorrow.

Also during tomorrow’s activities, between 4-6 p.m., judging will begin. If your carving wins a prize, you may pick up your pumpkin and ribbon Sunday, Oct. 23, between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The rules are simple. Keep it clean, register your pumpkin for your proper age group, and no attachments on the pumpkin. Just simply the pumpkin will do. For the specifics, visit the contest rules page here.

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