By Lauren Nguyen
Thousands of people gathered on Saturday and Sunday at the Farm Store at Kellogg Ranch for Cal Poly Pomona’s 22nd Annual Pumpkin Festival, a campus tradition that the community anticipates every fall.
The event began at 8 a.m. on both days, and featured the main attraction, a pumpkin patch, as well as a corn maze, petting zoo, horse rides, craft booths, carnival games, live music and entertainment. For Saturday morning attendees, a pancake breakfast kicked off the weekend’s affair.
The Farm Store was flooded with merchants who came to sell homemade souvenirs, including harvest knick-knacks, lawn ornaments and decorative horseshoes. Large businesses were also at the event with their own booths, including Mary Kay beauty products and Toyota.
Campus clubs also hosted booths throughout the festival. The Food and Nutrition Forum hosted a pumpkin toss, while the College of Agriculture Ambassadors sold water to hydrate attendees during the warm weekend.
Luke Lightbody, a third-year animal science student and College of Agriculture student ambassador, has volunteered for the event three years in a row. Although the previous festivals he attended were successes, Lightbody saw an improvement from previous years.
“I feel like it’s a lot bigger this year,” said Lightbody. “They switched the arrangement around a little bit. The way they spread it out now makes the flow so much better.”
Attendees had a variety of food vendors to choose from, including fair-style foods and pumpkin treats. In addition to the meals enjoyed at the festival, guests stopped by the farmer’s market and the Farm Store to bring more food home.
Dawn Taccone, Farm Store manager and coordinator of the festival, started preparing in July to ensure a quality event.
Taccone worked alongside Farm Store staff member Shonnie Crane, AgriScapes coordinator Brenda Orozco and the College of Agriculture to organize the festival.
“I really feel like this year went way smoother than normal,” said Taccone. “I think we’ve done it long enough, and I have a very well trained staff where everyone just goes into Pumpkin Festival mode.”
The festival had an expectancy of about 65,000 visitors, and CPP wheels in about 60,000 pumpkins every year to provide enough for the event-goers. A plethora of pumpkins spread over the field even after visitors walked out with several purchases.
Attendants wandered the pumpkin patch in search of pumpkins all shapes and sizes, sold for $5 a piece. Smaller pumpkins that varied in price were available near the Farm Store.
The event saw a wide audience. Families pushed around wagons and strollers full of pumpkins. Students and their peers supported their campus’s event, while parents and grandparents brought kids to experience the activities. Elementary school groups even attended the event for a field trip.
Second-year attendee Michelle Peterson brought her family of five for the atmosphere, all the way from Los Angeles.
“I first heard about this through word of mouth last year, because I don’t have any real ties to the college,” said Peterson. “But I’m coming back for years because my husband and kids really seem to enjoy themselves.”
Photo opportunities were at almost every corner of the festival. From the towering sunflowers to stacked hay bales, students and families were seen snapping away in front of fall-themed backgrounds.
“My children are growing up every year, and I want to be able to capture them as much as I can,” said Peterson. “You can’t get photo-ops like this festival in the city.”
Many who visited the Pumpkin Festival also made their way to the Insect Fair and Matt’s Run, two other university events in the fall, for an action-packed weekend.
Chris Maciosek / The Poly Post
Pumpkin Festival 2014
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