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Oct 20

Pumpkin Festival Days

Sunset
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Pumpkin Patch at Sunset
Photo by Lynn Bauer
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"Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one ... he's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one! You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see."

~ It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, 1966

This is the month for fiery orange autumnal sunsets, pumpkin festivals, and celebrations and contests for pumpkin carving, pumpkin weighing, and pumpkin throwing! And for some true believers, it is a time for cultivating the most sincere of pumpkin patches, in expectation of a visit from the Great Pumpkin. Based on the Peanuts comic strip by Charle M. Schulz, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" this classic holiday special debuted in October, 1966 and featured Linus Van Pelt, who forgoes trick-or-treating, convinced that the Great Pumpkin will rise out of his pumpkin patch, fly through the air and bring toys to all the children of the world! Other famous pumpkins in literature include: Cinderella's pumpkin carriage; the shatttered pumpkin of the Headless Horseman from Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; Jack Pumpkinhead from Frank L. Baum's The Marvelous Land of Oz; and Feathertop, from Nathaniel Hawthorne's tale of the same name, featuring a bewitched scarecrow with a pumpkin head! 🎃

A time-honored Hallowe'en seasonal tradition in many households in the 20th century was to watch the annual televised special, "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," which debuted in October, 1966.

With an original and memorable score composed and performed by Vince Guaraldi, executive producer Lee Mendelson told The Washington Post that the sequence with Snoopy flying his doghouse was "one of the most memorable animated scenes ever." He also said that of all the Peanuts TV specials, "I believe It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is Bill Melendez’s animation masterpiece."

Modern traditions include a visit to your local pumpkin patch or pumpkin festival, which abound in the United States, in order to pick up a pumpkin or two for carving and seasonal decorating for Hallowe'en.   Often with adjoining corn mazes and lots of fun activities and pumpkin-flavoured treats and beverages, festivals can also include pumpkin carving, pumpkin weighing, or pumpkin throwing contests!

The coastal community of Half Moon Bay in California, the Pumpkin Capital of the World, hosts its annual festival, begun in 1970,  during this time.

According to their website, visitors can expect:

Massive, mind-boggling, Volkswagen-sized weigh-off champion pumpkins on display, the mesmerizing and remarkably talented “Picasso of pumpkin carvers” sculpting and shaping monster pumpkins into one-of-a-kind masterpieces, boo-tiful harvest-inspired crafts by America’s top artists, the Sunday-only “Made on the Coast” Locals’ Artists Block featuring fine art and live music, fabulously festive food and drink, the richest/creamiest/tastiest pumpkin pie on the planet, four stages of blockbuster entertainment, everyone’s favorite home-spun parade, the world’s largest mosaic pumpkin sculpture that measures 12-feet long, 11-feet high and weighs 10,000 pounds by artist Peter Hazel, enchanting events and contests for the whole family, playful and mischievous Pumpkin Festival mascot “Gourdy”, the never-ending search for the Great Pumpkin, and a bumper crop of 3,000+ tons of the beloved orange orb waiting to be picked from one of the many rustic pumpkin patches around town are among the extraordinary, not-to-be forgotten attractions!"

Bring back memories of childhood with the classic soundtrack of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" by clicking on "Sunset in the Pumpkin Patch" by photographer Lynn Bauer.