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Celebrate the season at LP's Pumpkin Fest

A pumpkin decorating contest will give participants the opportunity to show off their creative ways of celebrating the season.

A pumpkin party will kick off the fall season next weekend, with plenty of activities for all ages.

The town of Lake Park will host Pumpkin Fest to be held Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24-25.

Before visitors arrive, organizers will have fall decorations up and ready to get everyone excited about the season.

"We are one of the few towns that has a fall celebration," said Melanie Hanson, one of the organizers.

The annual event, which was started in the early 1990s by the local garden club as a pumpkin tasting, draws more than 1,000 people scattered at the various spots where activities take place.

"The humidity is gone and it's not too cold -- it's a wonderful time of year to be outside," Hanson said.

Competition will get Lake Park residents pumped up for the festivities starting Friday night.

Those who have been working hard on decorating their yards and showcasing various fall colors will be judged at 5 p.m. Friday. No registration is required.

Meanwhile, the pumpkin contest registration will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the City Center, followed by the 5K walk/run at the Park Village Fountain beginning at 5:30 p.m.

A Lil' Miss Pumpkin Fest Pageant will be held at the Lake Park-Audubon High School theater starting at 7 p.m.

Saturday's events begin bright and early at 8 a.m. with a garden club produce and plant sale at the American Legion, while a craft and vendor show will also start at 8 a.m. at the Fire Bay.

Those who entered the pumpkin contest can see their creations on display at the City Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A classic car show, which "has really blossomed and taken off," Hanson said, will be held on Lake Street from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

New this year is the kids' pedal tractor pull, taking place in the bus garage alley. Hanson said area farmers have sponsored a barrel train for the activity. Additionally, horse drawn wagon rides will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. by the fire bay.

A horseshoe tournament will be held at the city park at 10 a.m., with registration starting at 9:30.

The Lake Park Garden Club is keeping alive the pumpkin tasting tradition that originated the event, with goodies offered at 10 a.m. at the American Legion Club.

The rest of the day is packed with activities, with the general parade -- the biggest draw for Pumpkin Fest -- starting at 2:30 p.m. Some of the classic cars are expected to participate in the parade this year.

"It's a great small town, family-friendly event and a great way to celebrate the fall season," Hanson said.