Animals, agriculture, activities liven Pumpkin Fest

. / photo by Litsy Tellez
The Cal Poly Pumpkin Festival returned for its 28th year on Oct. 2 with a wide range of pumpkins to choose from, along with farm activities like hay rides, a petting zoo and a corn maze. The festival is open every Wednesday through Sunday until Oct. 31 and tickets are available online. / photo by Litsy Tellez

Greta Taylor
Staff Writer 

Cal Poly Pomona’s Pumpkin Fest is a feast for the senses with its featured corn mazes, sunflower maze, games, live music and more.

The pumpkin fest was canceled last year due to the pandemic. In 2019, the festival was attended by over 100,000 people. Cal Poly Pomona is expecting a similar turn out this season. Opening day saw around 5,000 visitors.

“In addition to the pumpkins, we have a petting zoo with our own sheep, goats and cattle. We have fun demonstrations on the weekend where people can see how sheep are sheared, how bees are kept, see how cows are milked,” Craig Walters, AGRIscapes outreach and urban farming director, said.

“For the first time ever I was able to milk a cow, that was pretty cool. The bees were cool too,” Miranda Cortez, Cal Poly freshman animal science major, said.

The hill of pumpkins grown by The Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture is expected to sell by the end of the festival.

“It’s a great place to come for families, I used to come here when I was younger,”

Sydney Rodriguez, freshman sociology major at Cal Poly, said. “It’s fun, people come here for photo ops.”

The beautiful sights of Fall pumpkins, sunflowers, hay and corn were accompanied by live bluegrass music from The Honey Buckets Band.

“We have background in hardcore metal music, then we fell in love with bluegrass,” Devin Wilcox, The Honey Buckets band member, said.

The Honey Buckets next performance will be at the Claremont Village Venture Arts and Crafts Faire on Oct. 23.

The band’s name is partially a homage to the coal mining days. 

Honey buckets were used for sanitation in the coal mines. There are no honey buckets on display at the pumpkin fest, but there are vintage tractors and farm tools to see. Visitors can use a vintage well water pump for the rubber ducky races. 

The festival offers a variety of food vendors selling fair favorites like barbecue, funnel cake, and kettle corn accompanied by tacos, boba, and Thai food. You can also stop by the farm store for fresh juice made from oranges grown on the campus.

“Something that most people aren’t aware of is Cal Poly operates the largest urban farm in Los Angeles county. We have over 200-acres of farmland here at the campus. We grow our own pumpkins, we grow vegetables that are sold at the Farm Store,” Walters said. “The Farm is actually our laboratory.”

This is the 28th year of the festival. The event is fun but it also showcases the school’s work. 

 “We have this fabulous 15-acre farm where we grow all kinds of crops, I have all kinds of animals. (This event) brings the community to see what we do here,” Peter Kilduff, interim associate dean in the Huntley College of Agriculture, said.

The Cal Poly Pumpkin Fest is open until Oct. 31. Activities, attractions and entertainment are only on the weekends. For more information visit cpp.edu/~pumpkinfestival.

Greta Taylor can be reached at greta.taylor@laverne.edu.

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Litsy Tellez is a junior photography major and a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine.

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