Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins and delicious pumpkin pies: 'Tis the season for all things pumpkin. And what better way to celebrate our Bronco-colored Colorado bounty than harvesting your very own gourd? There are family-friendly pumpkin patches along the Front Range, as well as feel-good fall festivals. Here are ten that you should carve into your fall October calendar.See also: Nine Favorite Family-Friendly Corn Mazes in Colorado
If the Griswald family had gone pumpkin picking instead of tree chopping in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, they might have landed here. The established Loveland farm — family-owned since 1861! — is small, neat and to the point: Drive to the site, park your car, then grab a wheelbarrow and get to picking. Osborn kicked off its pumpkin season last weekend with a Market Days celebration, and the patch and barnyard remain open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Halloween, weather and supply permitting. Admission is always free.
9) CircleF8 Ranch 650 Sky View Lane, Larkspur 303-681-3169
This ranch is the real McCoy. Specializing in goats, honey bees and farm fresh eggs, it also has one heck of a pumpkin patch, along with goat walks, tractor-pulled hay rides, haunted rides and a haunted trail. The folks behind the scenes want you to know that organic eating doesn't have to be expensive if you do it yourself, and they teach Coloradans that throughout the year with classes ranging from cheese-making to goat keeping. Open for pumpkin picking 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through October 31.
8) May Farms 64001 US Highway 36, Byers 303-822-5800
Children from every corner of Colorado flock to May Farms to learn what life on a farm is really like. This time of year they'll find pumpkins galore on a wide-open patch just ripe for the picking, and already gathered gourds and pie pumpkins at the farm stand. There are also hay bale mazes, a corn cannon, tractor-pulled hay rides and a barrel train — and don't forget to try Mrs. May's Homemade Chili, served at the Pavilion along with other mouth-watering goodness. The patch is open weekends,10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is $10 (activity fees vary); proceeds benefit the Country Kids Foundation.
7) Anderson Farms 6728 County Road 3 ¼ (Erie)? 303-828-5210 Anderson Farms is like Disneyland for people who prefer nature to plastic. The farm welcomes visitors daily with an array of autumnal activities: gourd launchers, gem mining, a four-part corn maze, a spectacular wooden playground, pony rides and a farmers' market stand. But the meandering wagon rides to a sprawling you-pick pumpkin patch are the highlight. Admission starts at $10, and children 3 and under are free. Check online for hours. Keep reading for more pumpkin patches — with festivals. 6) The BigWonderful's Pumpkinfest Sustainability Park 26th Avenue at Lawrence Street
Denver's food flea market and food-truck incubator holds a free event at Sustainability Park every Saturday to promote local businesses and environmental responsibility. But you don't want to miss TheBigWonderful's Pumpkinfest, which runs from 11 a.m. to dusk on Saturday, October 25. The market will be the season with a family-friendly lineup that includes a pumpkin-carving competition starting at 11 a.m., a pumpkin toss and live music beginning at 3 p.m.
5) Grant Family Farms Harvestival 12155 NCR 15, Wellington 970-286-0080
Get ready for a jam-packed Saturday — and Friday night if you choose to camp out! — at Grant Farms. The fun starts on Saturday, October 11 at 10 a.m., and includes live local music, local brews and food, and such agritourism activites as farm tours and agriculture workshops. For kids, there are games, a kid art zone and the pumpkin patch. For the Friday night crew, there will be fire spinners, hula dancers, music and more. Tickets to the Saturday festivities are $25 and can be purchased in advance online.
4) Tagawa Gardens Pumpkin Festival 7711 South Parker Road, Centennial 303-690-4722
October weekends mean one thing at Tagawa: Pumpkins! A community tradition for over twenty years, these weekly festivals are fun for all ages, and a Colorado family must. The festivities kick off this weekend, October 11 to 12, and run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days; the festivals continue on October 18 and 19 and 25 and 26. Each day is a little different: Aside from pumpkin picking, activities can include "walk on water" bubbles, balloon animals, pony rides, pumpkin-decorating and more. Local food and art vendors will be hawking their stuff, and there are free concerts from 1 to 3 p.m. on October 18 and October 19. Keep reading for three more pumpkin festivals.
3) The Joshua School's Harvest Festival 2303 East Dartmouth Avenue 303-332-3403
You'll feel extra good about this year's harvest knowing that proceeds from your pumpkin purchases go directly to The Joshua School, a neighborhood school that's been serving children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and developmental disabilities since 2005. This year's festival runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 11, with carnival games, a fire truck, a bounce house, face painting, live music, a cake walk, a chili cook off and, of course, a pumpkin patch. The event caters to children with developmental disabilities and coubles as a resource fair for parents — but it's open to anybody looking for a good time. Admission is free, and activity tickets are $1 a pop.
2) Olde Town Arvada's Festival of Scarecrows 57th and Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada 303-420-6100
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There's something for everybody at the eighteenth annual Festival of Scarecrows, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday October 10, 2015. If you want to participate in the contest, you must create your scarecrow by 9 a.m. (there is no entry fee this year, it used to cost $20 in years past); judges will then search for the best in categories like Scariest, Funniest and Most The celebration also includes a pumpkin patch, with proceeds benefiting the Arvada Food Bank, a pumpkin seed-spitting contest, a pumpkin pie-eating contest and a giant pumpkin weigh-in, as well as hayrides, a corn maze and kid activities and vendor booths.
1) Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield's Pumpkin Fest 8500 West Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton? 720-865-4336
Chatfield will be a cornucopia of activities this weekend, with pumpkin carving, pumpkin bowling and, of course, pumpkin picking from the ten-acre patch.During the Pumpkin Fest, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, October 10 through Sunday, October 12, you can also hop on a hayride, saddle a pony, decorate a cookie, paint your face, stuff your face with funnel cake and kettle corn or jump on a giant pillow. Oh, and did we mention the giant corn maze that's shaped like a butterfly? Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children 3 and up and free for the 2-and-under crowd, with special member pricing available.
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