West Chester Great Pumpkin Fest offers fright-free fall activities

Credit: Ralph Barrera

Credit: Ralph Barrera

The annual West Chester Twp. Great Pumpkin Fest is chock full of fun, fright-free, fall activities, food and the ever-popular costume contest.

The fest has been drawing crowds since the late 1990s and this year it will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Oct. 13 at Keehner Park. Township spokeswoman Barb Wilson said there is something for everyone and it is all free — except food and beverages, which are available for purchase.

“It’s one of those cool kind of events that families can come and you feel part of the community without having to reach into your pocket all of the time to pull money out to pay for something,” Wilson said.

One of the bigger draws is the costume contest organized by the Primrose School. Assistant Director Alecia Watson said there are between 100 and 150 contestants each year. There are trophies for the winners in each of four age categories from newborn to age 12.

Registration for the contest will be from 2 to 3 p.m. The contest starts at 3:30 p.m.

She said the children always come up with really fun, clever costumes, like one little tyke last year.

“Last year we had an excellent costume, a little boy, his grandma made his costume and he was a scarecrow and he had real hay sticking out and all these little plastic ravens all over him,” she said. “That was awesome.”

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Wilson said there will be a host of other things going on like the Wump Mucket Puppet Show, horse and wagon rides, a hay bale maze, the Lakota robotics team will be showing their inventions, the obligatory pumpkin roll, games, face painting and the list goes on.

“We have the not-so-scary haunted trail through the woods at Keehner Park,” she said. “The kids are greeted by costumed characters along the trail and they are given candy and trinkets. That’s always kind of fun, it kind of takes after the big, scary, haunted things but this is really meant for young kids.”

Wilson said when the weather cooperates they have as many at 5,000 fest-goers show up at the 123-acre park on Barret Road.

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