October is one of our favorite times of year thanks to the weather changing (yes, L.A. does have a change of seasons) and the myriad of fall festivities in our communities. Over the next few weeks, MamaLA will be featuring some of our favorite family-friendly outings and traditions of the season, and we have to begin with the 19th Annual Kidspace Pumpkin Festival on October 5th & 6th in Pasadena.
Yes, it’s a day-long food and activity fest like any other, but here’s why we love it: The Circle of Friends, the museum’s volunteer support group which is made up mostly of mommies, puts on the Pumpkin Festival each year, and has developed a V.I.P. (Very Important Pumpkins) Program to provide scholarships to local organizations that service underprivileged children in the area. The children granted these V.I.P. scholarships would otherwise not be able to attend the event.
Melissa Parra, who is chairing the V.I.P. Program this year, tells us that thanks to the success of last year’s program, Circle of Friends has increased the number of scholarships by 100, which means 450 scholarships will go to kids in need this week. Each V.I.P. will be given 15 ticket packages, comprised of game tickets and craft tickets plus a free pumpkin, a free drink, and a kids meal provided by the local B.J.’s Pizzeria that includes a Pizookie pizza cookie for dessert.
For those who have not attended the Pumpkin Festival before, make a day of it and plan to go with your family. In addition to crafts, games, and a petting zoo, you can buy costumes, pick out pumpkins, and enjoy food by Teri & Yaki, In-N-Out, Robin’s Woodfire BBQ, El Portal, Choctal and The Coffee Gallery. With partnerships with Radio Disney and live entertainment both days (Earthworm Ensemble, The Hollow Trees, Ellen and Matt, Brittany Pearl, Egg, and others will be performing).
Our advice for a successful Pumpkin Festival outing is pretty straightforward: go early to avoid crowds and heat and plan to eat lunch on the earlier side to avoid lines. Lots of kids come in costumes, which is fun but only if they are on the cooler/less itchy side. Also, we like to prepare our kids for how much they will have to spend in tickets up front, especially for older kids, so that we don’t go broke in multiple ticket runs. If you do opt in for lots of tickets, the upside is that the funds go to a good cause and the more the festival earns, the more V.I.P.'s there will be next year.