By Megan Freeman, Sept. 28, 2021

Last year, COVID-19 wreaked havoc on fun campus events like the annual Pumpkin Festival, but the fall tradition is prepared for a comeback this October.

With spooky season around the corner the campus is ready to celebrate fall festivities and Halloween with attractions for the community to enjoy such as a mile-long corn maze, a hayride around CPP’s farmland and a patch of organic pumpkins.

“It is good ol’ fashioned fun,” said Craig Walters, the event director of the Pumpkin Fest. “It is not like a carnival, we do not have carnival rides, you do not have people that are trying to sell you
something; it is just fun and family-oriented.”

According to Walters, they are showcasing a petting zoo which will feature goats, sheep, small pigs, a calf and a special lamb, Oreo. Oreo was born in March 2020 and was socialized very early on, leading to a love for human interaction. A naming contest was held on social media to name him, and “Oreo” was decided due to his distinct black and white coloring.

He will make his debut the first weekend of the festival when President Coley introduces him.

The lamb Oreo as pictured above. (Courtesy of CPP Pumpkin Festival)

The Pumpkin Fest will feature live bluegrass and country music as well as fresh food items. The food options include barbeque, snow cones, kettle corn, ice cream and roasted nuts. There will also be many student clubs in attendance hosting fun activities for fundraising.

Walters sees the annual festival as a way of outreach to the CPP community and it’s a way for the College of Agriculture to connect to CPP students by having them learn where their food is grown or have an opportunity to pet a goat.

“We do demonstrations like cow milking,” said Walters. “We have six different demonstrations a day, like shearing sheep, beekeeping, a lot of fun things like that. There’s a lot you can do without spending money.”

There is an attraction and admission bundle, as well as a season pass. At this time, there is no requirement for masks, but social distancing will be enforced.

Both new and returning students are looking forward to attending the Pumpkin Fest.

Holly Diaz, a nutrition dietetics major, will be going for the first time with her friends. Diaz is most excited to visit the pumpkin patch and the corn maze.

“I’m excited to get that experience of like engaging with other people, smiling, and just like making sure everyone else has a good time and not just me,” said Diaz. “I want everybody to feel that feeling where it’s like ‘I’m happy to be here.’”

Griselda Rodriguez, an animal science major, worked the pumpkin fest in years past. Rodriguez will be working and managing the whole pumpkin patch area.

“I always look forward to it,” said Rodriguez, “I really love it; I worked there for four years, which you can tell I definitely love it. I really like it, I’ve come with family and friends before, and I know everyone loved going on the giant hill and pick their pumpkins.”

Rodriguez said the thing they enjoy the most about the pumpkin fest has been working with their peers within her major as it relates to agriculture.

“I think my favorite part of it has always been just the community aspect of it,” said Rodriguez. “The event is pretty much run by the College of Agriculture students, for example, the nutrition majors and the plant science majors. They fit so perfectly in the children’s garden, as they teach about nutrition and how to grow plants. I feel like everyone has their own little place to show what they’re learning.”

In years past, the Pumpkin Fest would run one weekend of October. Now, the festival is scheduled during all five weekends in October. For more information, visit the official Pumpkin Festival website as tickets must be purchased online.

Feature image courtesy of Darren Loo.

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