Pump It Up
Likely no fruit, vegetable, or root holds the season-defining power of the pumpkin. And even though fall is still a month away, pumpkin news is starting to drift in on the breeze. Mark your calendars for the changing of the gourd: the Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival is coming September 24 to October 31.
There’s a lot more to do over those 38 days than look at pumpkins, although there will be the obligatory pumpkin patches (big ones, little ones, and gourds). Some of the more than 50 activities are free with entry, including lots of yard games, goat yoga for kids, and a semi-chaotic range from sound baths to bouncy bull riding. Others come à la carte, like an exotic petting zoo (starting at $3+), henna art ($5+), and pumpkin painting ($10).
For adults and kids alike, 100.1 Sun Radio is creating a live music program, and alongside all the activities is a courtyard market for browsing “family-friendly products.” Local food and beverage vendors will bring 13 booths serving ice cream, tacos, free water, and more.
The festival is overall more Old MacDonald than Jack Skellington, but some spooky elements like the Lost Souls Cemetery and Lil' Monster Maze will be setting a Halloween mood. The last weekend in particular will lean into the holiday with “ghoulish giveaways” and a raffle, a “Golden Skeleton Hunt,” a costume contest (plus free entry before noon for costumed visitors), and some candy-centric activities.
The list of Pumpkin Festival attractions goes on and on — as it should for a five-week event — with special programming each weekend. These could be educational (“a celebration of indigenous tradition” with dancing and frybread) or just fun (a $49.50 pumpkin carving workshop by a Guiness World Record holder).
This all takes place at the Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead, on five acres about 25 miles from Austin. A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit the Friends of the Pound House Foundation, which maintains the properties with necessary repairs. The most recent project the farmstead publicly shared was to replace a leaking roof and eliminate mold. The property is now considered a museum, which educates visitors about early settlers in the area through Dr. Joseph M. Pound, his wife, Sarah, and their nine children.
Following the spirit of this community-minded venue, there are several opportunities for visitors to attend at no cost, including free admission on Mondays (except October 10), with additional free days for first responders, medical personnel, veterans and active military, and educators.
The Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival is open every day except Tuesdays, from September 24 to October 31. The festival opens at 10 am and closes at 7 pm. Tickets ($5 on weekdays, $10 on weekends) available at the festival and on Eventbrite. Information about schedules and activities is available at drippingspringspumpkinfestival.com.