Pumpkin Fest is Sept. 23-24 in Lake Park
The leaves are changing, school is in session, furnaces are being turned on, and the pumpkins are ripening.
Oh yes, fall is in the air, and with it comes the Lake Park Pumpkin Fest, being held Sept. 23 and 24.
Lake Park residents are getting their yards all spruced up in fall fashion, as the event kicks off with Friday night's Yard Decoration Judging at 5 p.m.
Several little pumpkins of the human kind will be dressing up for the Lil' Miss Pumpkin Fest Pageant at the High School Theater at 7 p.m.
Saturday is plum full of activities, beginning at 8 a.m. with a kids one-mile Fun Run, the Garden Club Produce and Plant Sale at the American Legion and the Craft and Vendor Show at the Fire Bay Restaurant.
"Last year we had maybe 30 or so vendors set up selling all sorts of things," said co-chair of the event Diane Midthune.
Also going from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. is the Pumpkin Contest Display.
When the clock strikes 9 a.m., a whole new slew of activities begin, such as the 5K Run/Walk at the high school, Kids' Crafts at the Glass Lady Studio, Magic Scratch Pumpkin for kids ages 2-5, the Kids' Tractor Pull and the Classic Car Show on Lake Street.
"Curt Hogenson of Curt's Rod & Custom is putting this on, and last year there were 130 cars in this," said Midthune. "And while there are a lot of old cars, there's also a variety there."
At 10 a.m. the, American Legion hosts a horseshoe tournament at the City Park, with registration beginning at 9.
At 10 is also when the Horse Drawn Wagon rides begin.
"Oh, everybody loves this," said Midthune. "Mike Doran brings his horses to town and just drives people all over -- that starts at the fire (department) bay."
Around the same time, deejay Peter Olenkick will be kicking off the old-time music in downtown Lake Park as the Garden Club puts on their Taste of Pumpkin at the American Legion.
There will be some kids crafts between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a tractor display set up at the bus garage from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Kids continue their day of activities with a 10:30 a.m. story time at the library, Barrel Train Rides and Kids' Games at the City Park 11 a.m.
Then it's time to break out the stars of the event -- the big 'ol orange pumpkins.
The Pumpkin Cleaning Contest kicks off at 11, with a Pumpkin Carving Contest and Pumpkin Pie Polka Walk at the American Legion at noon,
New to the event is a Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest at 1 p.m.
At 12:30, the craziness begins as the Blind Golf Cart Races rev up the crowd.
"This is where there are two people in the cart," explains Midthune. "The driver is blindfolded and the other person has to tell them which direction to go. There are cones set up, and it's just a humorous thing to watch."
The Kiddie Parade marches into town at 2:15 p.m., with the general parade following at 2:30 p.m.
"It's whomever shows up at 2 at the lake Park Lutheran Church parking lot," said Midthune. "We'll get daycares, the sheriff's posse, floats from different organizations, classes, the high school band and the homecoming royalty because this year Pumpkin Fest coincides with homecoming."
Pumpkin festers that make it to five events or more and have the stamps to prove it, can enter the drawing for cash and prizes.
"Many of our local businesses donated cash and people have donated prizes for this," said Midthune," so we'll be drawing for that at 4."
And since it is harvest time, food is aplenty.
The Lake Park Legion is hosting a Harvest Breakfast and Lunch from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Franklin 4-H is serving up rolls, soup, barbecues, taco-in-a-bag and bars.
The Lake Park Lions will have the grills roaring with hot dogs and brats.
And the Historical Society will top it all off with pie and ice cream at the Amdal House from noon to 2 p.m.
For a schedule of events, find the Lake Park Pumpkin Fest on Facebook.