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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Illuminating pumpkins in a rainbow of colors at Delafield. © Delafield Area Chamber of Commerce
Illuminating pumpkins in a rainbow of colors at Delafield. © Delafield Area Chamber of Commerce

October 2007

Wisconsin Traveler
I'm pumped!

Time to honor Wisconsin's most celebrated squash.

Surely there is no more celebrated member of the cucurbit family than the Wisconsin pumpkin. Yes, those who favor quantity over quality stoutly proclaim the virtues of the prolific zucchini, while the warty, mottled exteriors of those garish ornamental gourds hold an attraction for the untutored eye. But it is the pumpkin that reigns above all squash. Indeed, the following attempt to compile a short list of pumpkin-related events was nearly thwarted by the sheer number of festivals hosted in its honor this month. We plucked just a few from the patch; rest assured that all will provide plenty of good food, music and fun:

October 6

Thorp Pumpkin Fest – Pumpkin baking, carving, painting and weighing anchor this one-day squash party in Clark County.

Fremont Pumpkin FestivalWaupaca County welcomes your participation in a pumpkin bakeoff and scarecrow contest.

October 6 & 7

Nekoosa Giant Pumpkin Festival – The folks in Nekoosa always find creative ways to boost the pumpkin's already-elevated profile. Join the Pumpkin Boat Regatta (see how long you can stay afloat on a giant pumpkin watercraft) or take part in the nationally-renown Cata-Pumpkin Launch, in which competitors use home-made catapults to fling a 10-pound pumpkin. Nekoosa Giant Pumpkin Fest

Regatta participants see how long they can stay afloat on giant pumpkin watercraft. © Nekoosa Giant Pumpkin Fest
Regatta participants see how long they can stay afloat on giant pumpkin watercraft.

© Nekoosa Giant Pumpkin Fest

Pumpkin Patch Festival – Step aside, cherries. Egg Harbor aims to promote the pumpkin during its two-day celebration featuring scarecrow and pumpkin displays throughout town, a farmer's market and more. Door County

October 13

Great Pumpkin Extravaganza Arts & Crafts Festival – Main Street in downtown Weyauwega in Waupaca County goes ga-ga for the grandiose squash. Weyauwega Area Chamber of Commerce

Milltown Pumpkin Fest – Pumpkin bowling Polk County-style, plus bed races, a rope pull, and free pumpkins to kids under 12. Milltown Community Club

Pumpkin Fest – Sample delicious homemade soups and other pumpkin delights in Three Lakes, "The Jewel of the Nicolet" National Forest. Three Lakes Chamber of Commerce

October 27

Pumpkinfest – Line up your carved or decorated pumpkin along the Wisconsin River Levee in Portage and help the city set a world record. Portage Area Chamber of Commerce

Grand Pumpkin Illumination – Hundreds of carved pumpkins will be on display in Delafield, and when they're all lit up you're sure to be spooked. Delafield Area Chamber of Commerce

Pumpkin Walk & Haunted Hayride – Glowing jack-o-lanterns light the way along a mile-long trail at Roche-A-Cri State Park in Friendship. (608) 565-2789

The Great Pumpkin Hike – High Cliff State Park in Sherwood hosts its annual nighttime squash stroll. (920) 989-1106

Pumpkins on the Rails

Pumpkins are so popular, they even have their own transportation. Go along for the ride!

The Great Pumpkin Train plies a route from the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay to a pumpkin patch on October 13-14. (920) 437-7623 National Railroad Museum

Ride the Pumpkin Special at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, October 20-21. The conductor will help you load your pumpkin on the train for the return trip. 1-800-930-1385.

Travel from Spooner to the Great Pumpkin Patch on the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad's Great Pumpkin Train every Saturday and Sunday in October. (715) 635-3200

Pick of the patch

Looking for a list of pumpkin picking patches and haunted events statewide? Check out Haunted Wisconsin