Some of the pumpkins submitted to the pumpkin-decorating contest are seen here during the 5th annual Kenai Fall Pumpkin Festival in Kenai, Alaska, on Oct. 10, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion file)

Some of the pumpkins submitted to the pumpkin-decorating contest are seen here during the 5th annual Kenai Fall Pumpkin Festival in Kenai, Alaska, on Oct. 10, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion file)

Kenai’s Fall Pumpkin Fest set for Saturday

The fun actually starts early, as a central element of the festival is a pumpkin decorating contest already underway

The City of Kenai’s Fall Pumpkin Festival will return for its eighth year on Saturday, running at Millennium Square between Arby’s and the Kenai Senior Center from noon to 3 p.m.

Kenai Parks and Recreation Director Tyler Best said Tuesday that the fun actually starts early, as a central element of the festival is a pumpkin-decorating contest already underway. Anyone under 12 can pick up a pumpkin at the Kenai Community Library and return it to the festival this weekend. The Friends of the Kenai Community Library will judge the pumpkins across three age categories and “fall goody bags” will be awarded to the winners.

Best said everything besides the food trucks will be free at the festival. That includes the hayides, a hay maze and pumpkin painting. The Salvation Army will host games, and K-Beach Elementary will host face painting. Last year, Best said, the city gave away 1,000 pumpkins — but this year they have even more.

The marquee attraction of the festival is the pumpkin drop. This year, Kenai City Council member Alex Douthit will ascend a Kenai Fire Department ladder truck and aim to drop the orange gourd on a target. Best said that if Douthit hits his mark, they’ve got free ice cream coupons from McDonald’s to give out. Even if the pumpkin splatters in the wrong spot, Best said they’ve got candy to pass out as a consolation.

“It’s a win-win,” he said.

The drop is scheduled for roughly 2 p.m., with some give or take in case fire department staff find themselves called away.

For more information about the Fall Pumpkin Festival, find “City of Kenai Parks & Recreation” on Facebook.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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