Great Pumpkin Fest returning to West Chester for 18th year: What to know

The fright-free haunted trail, pumpkin roll, live pony carousel and best costume contest are all hallmarks of the popular Great Pumpkin Fest in West Chester Twp.

The township will host the annual free, fall fest, an event that has been going on since 2001, Oct. 12 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Keehner Park.

“This is West Chester’s signature fall event at Keehner Park,” Township spokeswoman Barb Wilson said. “It’s really all about families and young kids and keeping things really simple just to encourage families to get together and enjoy the park in fall.”

RELATED: West Chester Great Pumpkin Fest offers fright-free fall activities

Monica Hines, community outreach coordinator for the township, said there will as always be the Primrose School costume contest, petting zoo with all sorts of cute farm animals — no exotic animals Wilson promised — a live pony carousel, pumpkin roll, guess the giant pumpkin’s weight and win it and much more.

There will also be a bevvy of booths for face painting and such and this year Hines said they are hoping Lakota students want to participate.

“This year we’re offering Lakota students, or anyone who is interested, to set up a booth and do their own activity,” she said. “That’s a way to incorporate volunteers and Lakota students and let them have fun and be involved with the kids.”

One of the bigger draws is the costume contest organized by the Primrose School. Assistant Director Alecia Watson said there are between 100 and 150 contestants each year and the numbers keep growing. There are trophies for the winners in each of four age categories from newborn to age 12. She said the judges will pick a boy and girl from each age group.

One of her all time favorite costumes was a little scarecrow with black plastic crows affixed to him “and it was so awesome.” Last year one little boy wowed her with his Wall-E the robot costume.

“I think the best costumes I ever see are all homemade and you can tell that they’ve been meticulously worked on,” Watson said. “But who am I to judge, I’m not a judge, I think they are all cute.”

Wilson said the VFW will have hamburgers and hot dogs for sale and the booths will have goodies and snacks for the kids.

Keehner Park is at 7211 Barret Road.

West Chester has many, many community events and the township partners with others on things like the Food Truck Rally and Shamrock Shuffle. This is the one event that is completely sponsored by the township at a cost of about $8,000.

For more information or to find volunteer opportunities go to: https://www.westchesteroh.org/

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