By Andrea Jimenez
It is that time of the year again where a sea of pumpkins takes over the hill alongside Temple Avenue and University Drive, which can only mean one thing: The Pumpkin Festival has arrived. This year marks the 21st annual Pumpkin Festival hosted at Cal Poly Pomona’s fields next to the Farm Store.
The festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with free admission and parking for the duration of the event.
Pumpkin festival attendees can choose from over 60,000 pumpkins priced at $5 each. For those who wish to eat beforehand, a pancake breakfast will take place, hosted by the Collins College of Hospitality Management Saturday, Oct. 19 from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Farm Store.
Admission will be $5 and $4 for students and children 12 and under. All proceeds support College of Agriculture student clubs and activities, as well as farm operations.
The pumpkins are CPP grown and are cultivated in a field in Chino. When the season comes through, the pumpkins will brought over to the Farm Store in loaded trucks.
“We are planning on [having] about 60,000 people,” said manager of the Farm Store and coordinator of the Pumpkin Festival, Dawn Taccone.
The festival will host live entertainment, face painting, a petting zoo, horse rides, a hay maze and the legendary corn maze. CPP clubs will also have their own tent hosting activates, arts and crafts.
Vendors from previous years will be returning ready for business, including local burger joint, The Habit.
“You get the experience to get out in the field,” said Taccone. “You kind of get a country experience in a place you would never think you would get it.”
Volunteers and those involved with the festival plan on doing their very best to provide a fun and memorable experience for each visitor.
“As a farm store, we are like a family and Dawn [Taccone] treats us like all of her children, and when it gets really busy we know what we have to do and we just come together,” said student and Farm Store employee, Allison Mayo. “That’s what I like about the Pumpkin Festival, because I feel like it makes us closer like a farm crew.”
Originally, The Pumpkin Festival was not the planned craze that it has been for the last few years. As the tale is told, two individuals had aimlessly planted the pumpkins not knowing that their next move would become a CPP tradition.
“It was actually two guys that had planted pumpkins on campus as a project, and then they sold them and the rest is history,” said Taccone.
The festival not only keeps pumpkin goers busy, but also keeps Farm Store employees and volunteers busy. By the end of pumpkin season, the Farm Store will have roughly seen about 80,000 people.
“There’s so much energy [at the festival], said Hunter Madera, a 3rd year food science and technology major and Farm Store employee. Madera has been involved with the Pumpkin Festival for 3 years.
“There’s so much going on, there’s so much to help with, there’s just always something to do. It’s just pumpkin in the air,” said Madera.
Madera said she looks forward to the festival much like everyone else at the Farm Store and especially likes working with those who attend the festival.
“I love working at the cash register because people are just really nice and have their own story,” said Madera, “and it keeps you going.”
Although the months and days of preparation can become tiresome, the weekend of the event is always a thrill.
“I personally get about 75 to 100 volunteers that week- it’s amazing,” said Taccone.
After the weekend of the Pumpkin Festival, the patch will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Oct. 21- 31 to sell the remaining pumpkins.
It is expected that this year roughly 15,000 people will walk through the corn maze, and whether it be to pick the best pumpkins, visit the petting zoo or enjoy other attractions, Taccone said the CPP Pumpkin Festival is a great family event.
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