Pumpkinville welcomes children and families to Myriad Botanical Gardens 

  • Carl Shortt Photography

As the days grow shorter, the crisp October air signifies the coming of fall. And with the changing of the seasons comes the autumn wonderland known as Pumpkinville. More than 16,000 pumpkins are transforming a portion of Myriad Botanical Gardens into a sea of orange for the fundraising event.

Pumpkinville is open to the public and geared toward families and children age 4-12. It’s located in the Children’s Garden area 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Oct. 23.

“Last year, more than 20,000 people visited Pumpkinville,” said Ashley Elkins, Myriad Gardens Foundation public events coordinator. “It’s a celebration of fall and all things harvest. Our executive director, Maureen Heffernan, had the idea five years ago, and it has grown into a major event.”

What many people might not realize, Elkins said, is Myriad Botanical Gardens is a nonprofit organization and Pumpkinville is one of its largest fundraisers.

“The Children’s Garden is free and open to the public throughout the year,” Elkins said. “But twice a year, we close it and charge admission during our fall and spring festivals. That allows the Children’s Garden to be free the rest of the year.”

  • Carl Shortt Photography

Planning starts early in the summer, Elkins said.

“We meet every other week for an hour to plan and brainstorm,” she said. “We also have a Pumpkinville committee that’s made up of the general public and volunteers. They meet once a month leading up to the event.”

Elkins said the gardens require over 600 volunteers to make the 17-day event happen. Those volunteers help staff the admission gate, make sales at the pumpkin patch and patrol the kids’ activities inside the Children’s Garden.

A number of crafts, activities and displays help get everyone into the spirit of the season.

“Cider press demonstrations will take place each Friday during Pumpkinville, beginning at 1 p.m.,” Elkins said. “Our education team will be on hand to show kids how they can make their very own cider.  We ask for a $2 donation for kiddos that decide to taste some of the homemade cider.”

Painting in the Gardens is Oct. 15 under the Pumpkinville programming tent on the pavilion lawn. Wine and Palette will be onsite to show guests how to paint an image on a pumpkin, and Elkins said preregistration is required.

“We will also have a Halloween party on Saturday, Oct. 22 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.” she added. “This is an after-hours event that includes trick-or-treat stations, games, entertainment, pizza and fun for the whole family.”

Pumpkinville even offers a variation of the time-honored childhood tradition of curling up for a story on Grandma’s lap.

“We are featuring Story Time on Grandma’s Porch every Saturday at 1 p.m.,” Elkins said.

While Pumpkinville is geared toward kids and families, the event is open to everyone. In fact, there will be a patch where visitors can purchase pumpkins for porch and yard decorations.

“Pumpkinville is all about families and making memories,” Elkins said.  “We strive as a staff to create a beautiful fall and harvest haven for members of our city to come together and enjoy the event with the people they love the most. If we see children outside, smiling and laughing, during the event, we know we’ve done our job.”

Visit myriadgardens.org.   

Print headline: Pumpkin project, Myriad Botanical Gardens’ Pumpkinville features events and activities through Oct. 23.

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Mark Beutler

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