Pumpkins submitted to the pumpkin decorating contest are seen at the 5th annual Kenai Fall Pumpkin Festival in Kenai, Alaska, on Oct. 10, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Pumpkins submitted to the pumpkin decorating contest are seen at the 5th annual Kenai Fall Pumpkin Festival in Kenai, Alaska, on Oct. 10, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Pumpkins — on the ground and from above — to make appearance at annual festival

The Kenai Fall Pumpkin Festival is back on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.

For its seventh year, the Kenai Fall Pumpkin Festival is back on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.

Held in Millennium Square — the field between Arby’s and the Senior Center — attendees will partake in pumpkin painting, see pumpkins dropped and splattered from an absurd height, go for a hayride or make their way through the hay maze. Food trucks will also be present.

Tyler Best, the assistant parks and recreation director in Kenai, said the best part of the festival will be giving around a thousand little pumpkins to kids.

This is Best’s second year working on the festival. He said it was born out of a beautification committee.

“It’s kind of just kicking off this time of year, the harvest season,” Best said. “Everything is fall decorated and orange.”

The pumpkin drop is the most recent addition to the festival, he said. Mayor Brian Gabriel climbs to the top of a fire truck ladder — around 60 feet high — and drops a pumpkin and everyone watches it explode.

If the fire truck is called away on an emergency, Best said, there’s a bucket truck on hand.

“Which isn’t as amazing, but it’s still a pumpkin drop.”

This year, in addition to the big pumpkin, Gabriel will be given three smaller sugar pie pumpkins, and challenged to drop one into a bucket of paint.

If he makes it in, everyone gets a free candy.

A video of last year’s pumpkin drop can be found on the City of Kenai Parks & Recreation Facebook page.

Beyond the food trucks and a suggested donation for the hayride, everything at the festival is free, Best said.

“It’s really community driven,” he said. “We’re giving out free pumpkins, we’re doing face painting. It’s really about the community together and celebrating this time of year. It’s a good time, and it’s free and it’s family friendly. I think that really opens the door for anybody who wants to attend.”

More information can be found at kenai.city or on Facebook at an event for the 7th Annual Pumpkin Festival.

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

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