Thousands Visit Campus For Annual Pumpkin, Insect Events

Thousands Visit Campus For Annual Pumpkin, Insect Events
The Pumpkin Festival and Insect Fair
took place Oct. 20-21.
Alyssa Copeland tries to stand still as tarantula sits on her hand during the
2007 Insect Fair at Cal Poly Pomona.
Matthew Carrera, 4, pulls a wagon loaded with pumpkins during the 2007 Pumpkin Festival.

While Patty Kennedy was visiting from Olympia, Washington, she was invited by her friends to visit a pumpkin patch. She decided to go along hoping to get a good picture of her 5-month-old son out of it. Kennedy didn't realize that they would soon find themselves in a gazebo in the middle of a seemingly endless field of pumpkins.

“I was not expecting anything this big,” Kennedy said. “I think it's very cool, there's a lot of pumpkins here and everybody's enjoying themselves.”

Cal Poly Pomona's annual Pumpkin Patch Festival came and went on Oct. 20 and 21 with thousands of families lugging home their little red wagons overfilling with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes.

University Photographer Tom Zasadzinski was on hand Sunday to capture the fun-filled day. To see his latest slideshow, visit

The annual event held at the pumpkin patch near the Farm Store has become a family tradition for many who were similarly entertained like Kennedy.

“It's a little more entertaining than going and buying pumpkins from a parking lot or a grocery story,” says Nathan Twombly, who has attended the festival with his four children for the past 11 years. “It's mostly for the children but it's a big family thing too.”

Twombly's family was one of hundreds who were scrounging for the best possible pumpkin from the large patch.

After gathering their gourds, families enjoyed the festivities including live music, a giant slide and a variety of food choices during the weekend long event. Student clubs from the College of Agriculture sponsored booths with different activities in order to help raise funds.

“I think it offers a unique and fun experience for the kids and a way for parents to contribute to our club,” said Ag Education club member Chelsye Deboor, while working a booth where families were taking pictures near a tractor.

After the pumpkin festival, families lined up waiting for the shuttle to the insect fair, held at the Bronco Student Center.

People of all ages attended the fair to witness the extraordinary insects from around the world or to look for a new specimen to add to their collection.

From giant millipedes to bats, attendees looked captivated by the thousands of insects and small creatures on display.

“I was a little hesitant about coming, but now I feel comfortable being around the bugs,” said 17-year-old Alyssa Copeland, who was trying to stand as still as possible while a tarantula crawled up her arm.

More than 20,000 people were expected to attend both events during the weekend, with most of the funds raised going to students clubs from the College of Agriculture.