If you are in the Poconos this October, make plans to attend the Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival. I picked up a brochure while traveling through Southeastern Pennsylvania and I have to say, I don’t see how this doesn’t get added to my October calendar. And it should be added to your October itinerary as well.
Just look at that pumpkin. Doesn’t that scream “fun”? The red nose. The bleary hooded eyes. I think this was modeled after every Merry Melodies animation of a drunk guy. I imagine I’ll look similar after a day of fun.
Best of all, there is FREE parking and FREE festival admission. So what is stopping you?
Let’s take a closer look at all the fun there is to be had at the Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival, shall we?
There is Deer & Pig Petting. You get to pet a deer and a pig. Presumably not both at once. But who knows. Live dangerously. Look at the fun these kids are having petting a pig. Or at least look at the fun these kids are having standing near a black smudge. I suspect this has been added to the spooky Halloween extravaganza at the Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival because that deer looks like some type of mutant midget. To be conservative, I’d hazard a guess that it is a baby deer, but that seems pretty cruel to subject a wild creature just out of the womb to a bunch of rugrats, and the organizers of the Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival don’t seem like that type of people. So I’m sticking with my assertion that its a mutant midget deer. Could anything be more fun?
Why yes, it is quite possible. Because on the same grounds as the Great Pocono Pumpkin festival is Pappy’s Petting Farm. The petting isn’t restricted to just Deer & Pig Petting. Look at the joy in this young girl as a goat licks out of her ice cream cone.
Except for the mutant midget deer, the petting zoo doesn’t seem overly creepy. Certainly not worthy of the Halloween season. But don’t worry, the Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival at Country Junction features the Enchanted Woods. Inside the Enchanted Woods is a cross eyed owl wearing a Bill Cosby knockoff sweater (coincidentally also being worn by the little girl in the photo, I bet they were embarrassed! “Oh No Woodsy, we did it again”) and a rhinoceros sporting a safari hat (who is probably even more embarassed!). I’m fairly certain that wikipedia does not list “woods” as the native habitat for all of these creatures. Of course, these woods are “enchanted” so perhaps that makes the conditions optimal. You can tell the woods are enchanted because they used different font sizes and only capitalized some of the letters. One might think that they were using some type of code. ECTD WOS, hmmmmmm. Perhaps that is the enchantment spell. ECTD WOS, ECTD WOS.
After sitting on an enchanted rhinoceros dressed up like Crocodile Dundee, one must ask themselves, what else could there possibly be? I feel like I’ve done it all. But we’ve just barely scratched the surface.
How about a Daytime Hayride? Does unlimited Daytime Hayrides sound even better? If you are like me it sure does. Think of how many times you can ride behind an aging blue Ford tractor spewing exhaust and other noxious fumes. Five? Ten? The number is unlimited. Without question, you can shave a few years off your life while having the time of your life being pulled around in a wooden box by an overly red retiree in an authentic trucker hat.
So far everything at the Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival has been free. FREE parking. FREE festival admission. FREE unlimited hayrides. But at some point, you are going to want to drop eight dollars (per person) on unlimited carnival rides on weekends brought to you by Nonweiler Amusements. A quick check of their web page shows that this is a tremendous value. Another quick Google check of “Nonweiler Amusements Safety Record” brought up nothing. Phew! Considering that a day pass to Disney World will set you back close to a hundred bucks, this is a bargain. Feel the thrills as you soar to great heights on the Ferris Wheel. Hold on to your mustache as you spin madly on the Octopus. Conquer your fear of heights as you tumble skyward on the Zipper. Space Mountain has nothing on these thrill rides. Just look at the pure glee on those kids faces. Could you deny your own family that type of joy? Of course you can’t, so plan your trip now.
Eight dollars indeed. If that is beyond your budget, never fear. You can Dig For Treasure in hopes of finding enough to fund your family outing. Your competition for unearthing any wealth seems to be pretty meager. That skeleton isn’t going to beat you to the untold quantities of gold doubloon buried beneath the grounds of the Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival. Of course, I suspect the dapper young person in the polka dots is about to meet the same fate as the skeleton. They appear to have hit some type of underground electrical wire during their Dig For Treasure. Curiously, they seem to be using a vacuum cleaner, so how they hit a buried utility line is beyond me.
In the event of an unsuccessful Dig for Treasure, never fear, money can be made at one of the two exciting contests. Jo Brandt took home $$$$$$ in the Fifth Annual Scarecrow Contest last year. And Windy Gallagher won the Fairy Garden House Contest taking home $$$$ for basically throwing up some household objects and other found items onto a green mat. I’ve seen 1970’s recipe cards that looked better.
While you might think that the look of fear in this girls face is from a 7 guage needle providing some type of inoculation to a terminal childhood disease, she is in fact, getting a tattoo done by a pirate. When not scarring little kids for life, the lovely pirate spends her time in the Magic Garden, singing (though most likely lip-syncing) songs of magic and piracy. Rumor has it that Britney Spears will be making a guest appearance as a saucy pirate in the Magic Garden at some point this season.
Why, they’ve all obviously completed the NEW Pirate Ship Obstacle Course. Having successfully navigated two incredibly complex slides and stood in an agonizingly long line in the hot sun, the pirates are now free to delight the crowds at the Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival.
So far you’ve entertained the kids with Unlimited Hayrides, explored both a Magic Garden AND some Enchanted Woods and petted animals both big and small. You’ve dug for treasure and commemorated your trip to the Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival with a tattoo. You may have even taken a Pony Ride, gotten your Face Painted, or engaged in other “Activities” (which seem to consist of dropping your small child into a pen filled with metal Tonka Toys recalled sometime in the late seventies).
But the best is yet to come. Check out the pure insanity of the NEW 3D Adventure. Crazy clocks, Sonic the Hedgehog, a fluorescent goat and some type of Groot wannabe in the form of a log with a light bulb for a nose all leap out and surround you with three dimensional illusion.
The Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival wouldn’t be complete without a few pumpkins. This year, there is a Bigger & Better Gourd Grenade. While the Bigger & Better claims are unsubstantiated, what can be said is that it is safer. This year, no real gourds will be launched in the Gourd Grenade. All gourd launching will be performed through the magic of Photoshop 1.0. Simply pull back on a giant rubber band and use your imagination of what it would be like to watch a big pumpkin soar majestically through the air before smashing into bits. I’m going to guess the organizers of the Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival are fans of the Amazing Race and saw this footage and decided that the use of an actual gourd could be hazardous. Very hazardous.
With the sun most likely setting and a day full of activity complete, the time eventually comes to select an actual pumpkin to take home. All pumpkins are $3. Or they aren’t. All pumpkins are $3 (& up). Undoubtedly, the size of the pumpkin sets the price. If you would like to take home a miniscule gourd too small to carve a single snaggled tooth into, you most certainly will be able to find a $3 pumpkin. If you would like a child size pumpkin to carve an intricate likeness of a pirate into, you’re going to need to go back and Dig For Treasure a bit more.
The Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival is open weekends in October. It is conveniently located to pretty much nothing, so book a room at the nearby Waldorf Hotel and make a weekend of it. And don’t forget to say hello to this lovely random Victorian woman on the way out. Tell her Shea Magazine sent you. Perhaps she’ll give you a free gourd.