Pick a pumpkin. Solve the corn maze. Ride an Arabian horse.
The 24th Annual Pumpkin Festival at Cal Poly Pomona will celebrate California agriculture by offering families all these fun activities and more. The festival will be held Oct. 8 and 9 at the university’s AGRIscapes Center.
The two-day event kicks off Cal Poly Pomona’s Month of Pumpkins. After the festival ends, the Pumpkin Patch will be open every day from Oct. 11 until Oct. 30 for visitors to pick their very own pumpkins.
“If you like the country fair atmosphere, the games and all the activities, come to the festival,” says Craig Walters, the event director. “If you don’t like large crowds and just want to pick a pumpkin, come visit the Pumpkin Patch afterward.”
About 70,000 pumpkins are grown for the event by Cal Poly Pomona either at AGRIscapes or on farmland in Chino.
The Pumpkin Festival will again charge admission this year, which will be $4 for adults and $3 for children ages 2 to 12. Children under 2 are admitted free. The admission also will cover parking.
However, the festival has eliminated the use of activity tickets after listening to feedback shared by attendees of last year’s event. In addition, festival organizers are making other changes aimed at limiting long ticket lines, which guests identified as a problem.
“We heard what customers had to say on social media and in a survey that we took last year,” Walters says. “We took their comments seriously and are making the appropriate adjustments to simplify things and reduce lines.”
Tickets are on sale at http://pumpkinfestival.cpp.edu or at the AGRIscapes office near the Farm Store. Festival-goers are encouraged to buy their tickets in advance so they can bypass the ticket sales lines on the day of the event. Discounts are only available in advance.
After the festival is over, the Pumpkin Patch is free to visit, but free parking will be limited.
All pumpkins from the patch will cost $5 each at the festival and afterward. All proceeds will help support the Cal Poly Pomona College of Agriculture’s farm operations, student clubs, and activities.
This year, the Pumpkin Festival is expanding to include the annual Cal Poly Pomona Insect Fair, which previously was held on campus at the Bronco Student Center.
The fair will feature thousands of live and preserved arthropods from all corners of the world. Vendors will sell insect-related wares at the fair, ranging from jewelry that looks like insects to live insects to take home, display cases, and frame boxes. A separate admission fee of $3 for adults and $2 for students and children 2 to 12 will be charged to enter the fair. Children under 2 get in free.
In addition, the Pumpkin Festival will feature the four-acre corn maze, a petting farm, and horse rides.
Guests can play games at student-run booths, enjoy fresh-squeezed orange juice at the Farm Store, or compete in pumpkin-pie-eating and seed-spitting contests. Live musical performances will take place at the gazebo.
Children can crawl through squash tunnels, pick small pumpkins at the Kid’s Patch, get their faces painted, or compete in a costume contest. Ag Discovery Lane also will have many free and fun activities.
The parking situation will improve this year with the opening of the new, three-story Parking Structure 2 on Temple Avenue near iPoly High School, which will add almost 2,000 new parking spaces.
Parking is also available in nearby Lot B, which is within walking distance of the festival.
Space also will be available in Lot F and the University Parking Structure off Kellogg and Palm drives. A shuttle will transport guests from these lots to the festival free of charge.
Festival-goers who are bringing wagons should park in Parking Structure 2 or Lot B. The shuttles will not have enough space for wagons.