By Ariel Romo
Cal Poly Pomona has once again hosted one of its largest events of the year, the annual Pumpkin Festival. Thousands joined on the weekend of Oct. 8 to pick pumpkins, enjoy various foods and more.
Each year, Don B. Huntley’s College of Agriculture grows 70,000 pumpkins for the highly anticipated fall tradition.
Club booths, food vendors, small business vendors and other organizations participate in the festival to highlight the sense of community that surrounds the event.
The festival included many popular attractions such as games, a petting farm, horse rides, an insect fair, a corn maze and Ag Discovery Lane, featuring agriculture-related exhibits and displays.
Ag Discovery Lane is an attraction that displays antique farm tractors, animals and gardening demonstrations such as Things Green, which has a segment on KCAL 9 and PBS. Nick Federoff, the host, teaches gardening tips to all interested in learning more about gardening.
The insect farm holds thousands of unusual insects. Guests can learn about insects from around the world and have fun holding these critters.
The corn maze is another favorite enjoyed by guests of all ages. The maze is a mile long and includes 12-foot-high corn stalks. The puzzling maze is also a treasure hunt that encourages people to find markers in the maze. Whoever finds them receives an honorary button.
One family of three joined the festivities this year and were not disappointed. Kim and her sons Mateo, 9, and Noah, 7, happily sat on the grass with their newly-picked pumpkins.
“I like the corn maze and picking a pumpkin,” said Mateo, to which little brother Noah agreed.
A vendor named Karen Martin has been participating in the festival since it began. She has her own handcrafted business called Karen’s Korner. Martin says she’s been involved in the festival for years due to the fact that she works at CPP.
According to Martin, because she has been involved since the beginning, she has witnessed children who came with their families grow up and bring their own children.
Martin loves the way the festival brings people together and has seen families come from all over southern California, even a family who drives approximately 140 miles down from Bakersfield.
There were also a number of guests and vendors who experienced the festival for the first time this year.
Farm Fresh Soap is a family business that made their Pumpkin Festival debut this year. The business’s first time selling was at this year’s Los Angeles County Fair.
The husband and wife duo, David and Michele Markham, created these soaps to help their daughter who has allergies and eczema. The Markhams explained that each bar of soap contains avocado, which is beneficial for the skin.
Also joining this year’s festival was Hilltoppers 4-H. They weren’t advertising crafts, soap or food, but instead were advertising a program open to children around the U.S. that helps promote agriculture. The organization was asked to join by the agricultural department to help their goal of celebrating California agriculture.
The program teaches children about animals and plants. These programs are available in many counties and cities so children from anywhere can join.
The festival started in 1991 and is held at CPP’s AGRIscapes outreach center. This festival helps support the agriculture department while also serving as a fun and educational event. The college ranks among the best in the nation.
AGRIscapes was created in 2001 and serves as an educational outreach branch. AGRIscapes hosts many field trips and conferences and also has its very own Farm Store that sells fresh produce grown on the fields.
Thousands of people joined the festival this year and each year the number continues to grow. Not only does this festival support CPP’s agriculture program, but it also has a huge positive impact on the surrounding community.
Eviana Vergara / The Poly Post
24th annual Pumpkin Festival
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