*I was given complimentary tickets for myself and my family to experience Pumpkinferno. (Thanks St. Lawrence Parks Commission!) All opinions are my own, or that of my family.*
Fall is a time of colourful leaves, cooler weather, and, of course, pumpkins! Upper Canada Village celebrates the harvest season with their annual family friendly Pumpkinferno event. This was the first year we visited this particular event at Upper Canada Village (but the 3rd or 4th time we’ve been to the park this season!)
I’m going to be honest and tell you I had no idea what to expect at Pumpkinferno. I knew there were many carved pumpkins, lit from inside, and some themed areas. I was not quite prepared for the scope of these pumpkin displays. (You can read what’s set up this year – 2019 – on the Pumpkinferno website.)
What I experienced was more amazing that what I had read. Full scale scenes laid out with masterful carving, musical experiences, and a cute cafe halfway through your wanders are just a few of the highlights
I must have taken 200+ pictures. My family wandered off ahead of me and they had to be called back for photo ops. Which they were happy to oblige me with. (At least in the beginning!)
Every year talented young artists from Eastern Ontario craft and create new displays to add to the magic of Pumpkinferno. Because I hadn’t been before, I can’t say what is new this year, but I love that the St Lawrence Parks Commission continues to grow this event.
Read more of The Story Behind the Pumpkins.
A few tips before you go:
Buy your tickets online
Tickets are available in two time slots, 7 – 8:30pm and 8:30 – 10pm. You can arrive any time inside that window to begin your illuminating experience.
Purchasing tickets ahead not only saves you time, it ensures you will be able to attend on a particular night. Pumpkinferno is a popular event throughout the month of October, so buy your tickets early!
Get your tickets here: https://store.en.parks.on.ca/store/category/1/58/Pumpkinferno/
Eat first (or make a reservation)
Evening events, especially when travelling with a young family, often requires sustenance beforehand. We stopped in Brockville for dinner – it’s an easy stop, halfway between Kingston and Morrisburg.
The eateries at Upper Canada Village are open during Pumpkinferno, but reservations are highly recommended. Walk ins will be welcomed as space allows.
Halfway through your excursion, you’ll find the Village Store Cafe. I didn’t go in (because my daughters would have roped me into buying them a treat they didn’t need), but my eldest daughter did. My youngest was content to wander the covered seating area next to the cafe and check out the decor.
More information on Pumpkinferno’s Eats and Treats can be found here: https://www.uppercanadavillage.com/events/pumpkinferno/eats-treats/
Dress for the weather
This entire event is outdoors. Buying tickets in advance does have the drawback of poor weather occasionally. Pumpkinferno does run rain or shine, so enjoy the adventure, whatever the weather!
We wore good running shoes and a light sweater, but it was still September when we were there. A lot of the pathways are dirt, so puddles and mud are a distinct possibility. And it’s dark, so do your best to watch your step. I almost splashed into a large puddle, but some other visitors warned me it was there just in time.
I can’t recommend this event enough. We’ve been thinking about going for years, but by the time we realize it’s on, most nights are sold out. My number one suggestion is to book your tickets now, and try a night besides Saturdays. Upper Canada Village says that is their busiest night of the week.
You can find a little more information – and a few photos from the folks at Upper Canada Village – in the article I wrote for Kingstonist.
I’ve created a photo album page with many of my photos from the evening. I didn’t put too many in this post because I want you to go, be surprised, and marvel at the imagery they create with their pumpkin art. But if you know you won’t make it, go ahead and take a peek at my photos.
If you’re reading this late in October and there are slim ticket pickings, I’d suggest looking forward to Upper Canada Village’s winter event, Alight at Night. I took the family last year and it was just as beautiful as Pumpkinferno is amazing.
Read my post from last winter’s visit: A Day in Photos: Alight at Night
Have you been to Pumpkinferno in the past? What was your favourite area? Or what are you looking forward to checking out? I’d love to read about it in the comments.
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