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Our Pumpkin Festival is Back! Family-Friendly Fun at Tagawa Gardens

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Our Pumpkin Festival is back!

pumpkinfest-kidsmaze-at-tagawa-gardens-denver

pumpkins-two-decorated-at-tagawa-gardens-denverWhy not join us for a big family-friendly party at Tagawa Gardens!

It just gets bigger and better every fall!  This year’s Pumpkin Festival at Tagawa Gardens is living proof that old-fashioned fun is alive and well, and just waiting for you and your family every weekend in October.

Alongside the playful activities, Tagawa’s is anxious to engage young minds in the magic of Mother Nature. Several of the special programs at this year’s Pumpkin Festival give kids and grownups a chance to see first-hand some of the amazing creatures that live in the natural world.

bat-cave-with-lindsay-at-tagawa-gardens-denver

Batman and Robin would be right at home!

bat-expert-rob-meis-at-tagawa-gardens-denverA great big bat cave now sits in the heart of Tagawa’s Pumpkin Festival event space.  The cave is the brainchild of Lindsay, Tagawa Gardens Events and Community OutReach Coordinator.

Lindsay is determined to make our Pumpkin Festival not just fun, but educational, too.  She says having so many young minds gathered in one place is a purr-fect time to add teaching moments into the mix.  Lindsay and an enthusiastic Tagawa staff team will lead several hundred school children on pre-booked weekday field trips, which include pumpkin decorating, pansy planting, the bat cave, and the inflatable obstacle course.

During both weekday field trips and weekend festivities, our young guests are invited to color the bat of their choice and add their bat to the growing colony of paper bats inside the bat cave.  Once inside, they can see stunning, up-close images of a dozen different bats and learn how bats are such a vital part of a healthy ecosystem.

And for the first time at Tagawa’s, bat expert and executive director of the Organization for Bat Conservation Rob Mies will bring our guests face-to-face with a Malayan Flying Fox, the largest bat in the world!  His October 23rd presentation will include a “bat detector” that will let human ears hear how bats communicate with echolocation.  This is one of many free programs on the Pumpkin Festival schedule.

pumpkins-tall-and-wide-at-tagawa-gardens-denver

A Bag of Bugs!

Also new this year, “Dr. Mike’s Bag of Bugs!”  Dr. Michael Weissmann is the co-founder and former curator of the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster.  On October 22nd, he’ll be bringing both live and preserved insects for a free and spirited hands-on presentation at Pumpkin Festival.  His cast of characters includes insects, spiders and scorpions, oh my!

close-up-hawk-face-hawkquest-at-tagawa-gardens-denver

thunderbirds-at-tagawa-gardens-denverOf course, Hawk Quest is coming back!

The beautiful birds of prey from Parker’s own Hawk Quest are regular visitors at Tagawa Gardens.  Many eagles, hawks, falcons, owls and vultures are right at home in Colorado.  Hawk Quest will be our guest twice during Pumpkin Festival, on October 15th and again on October 29th.  Both programs are free.

The birds presented by Hawk Quest have been injured or otherwise harmed and can’t be released into the wild.  Hawk Quest helps these remarkable animals become ambassadors for their species.   Learning about these birds helps all of us, especially children, appreciate their role in our environment.

The rescued exotic birds known as the “Thunderbirds” will be back on the Tagawa stage, too.  This will be your chance to see brilliantly-colored parrots doing un-parrot-like things…. riding skateboards and scooters!  The Thunderbirds visit for a free show on October 30th.

little-feet-stomping-grapes-at-tagawa-gardens-denver

Tiny feet and lots of grapes!

Balistreri Vineyards is returning for this year’s Pumpkin Festival.  It’s all about making “Little Feet” Merlot.  There will be two “stompings” on October 16th.  Our young guests will be invited to take off their shoes and socks, roll up their pants and stomp away!

Adults can sample and purchase last year’s “Little Feet” vintage.  They can also pre-purchase next year’s “Little Feet” Merlot, personally stomped by their favorite youngsters.  The pre-sales of next year’s wine will benefit the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

bee-image-benjamin-hummel-chalk-artist-at-tagawa-gardens-denver

Specialty artists are coming, too!

If you’d like to take your own pumpkin carving skills to a higher level, you’re in luck!  Master Pumpkin Carver Barry Brown has made dozens of appearances on national news programs, and now, he’s coming to Tagawa Gardens to teach!

Barry will be leading a Pumpkin Carving Party and class on October 22nd.  Registration is required.  This fun family opportunity involves only a $30 fee, but space is limited.  Register early!  (Carvers must be at least 13 years old.)

Tagawa’s is also welcoming Denver chalk artist Benjamin Hummel.  He’ll be creating one of his amazing works of art right on our greenhouse floor on October 22. If you haven’t seen Benjamin’s work, you won’t believe your eyes.

pumpkins-on-display-at-tagawa-gardens-denver

Pumpkins!  Lots of pumpkins!

Our event is called Pumpkin Festival, after all, so a few thousand pumpkins will be at the ready for kids to decorate and take home.

Pumpkin Festival is also a great time to buy pumpkins of all shapes and sizes from our indoor pumpkin patch.  We’ll have plenty in stock, along with specialty pumpkins, beautiful gourds, corn stalks and straw bales.

lindsay in wow bubble at tagawa gardens

The fun and games are back, too!

Other old favorite activities are back, including face painting, balloon animals, pansy planting and our inflatable obstacle course.

“W.O.W.” Bubbles are always a crowd pleaser with children and adults.   See if you can walk on water in these big bubbles filled with air and set adrift on a giant (but shallow) pool of water.  It’s a lot harder than you might think, but it makes for great home movies!

For a mix of fun and education, hop on board Tagawa’s big wooden wagon for an old-fashioned hay ride.  Your route will take you near Cherry Creek, with a member of the Tagawa staff serving as your tour guide, explaining the often overlooked history of this area.

Admission and all special programs on stage during Pumpkin Festival are free!  As in the past, tickets are required for many of the other activities, which are available every weekend throughout Pumpkin Festival.

pumpkin-festival-hay-wagon-at-tagawa-gardens-denver

And for the younger crowd….

What’s even more fun (and a lot cleaner) than a sand box?  A big box of beans!  Tagawa’s bean box debuted at last year’s Pumpkin Festival and was a huge hit!

Our smaller guests can sit down and crawl around in several inches of cool, clean pinto beans and have the time of their life!  It’s a new twist on an old-fashioned event common at county fairs in the Midwest.  Who knew beans could be so much fun?!

For young ones interested in an outdoor adventure, pony rides will be back at Pumpkin Festival.  And we’ll have our child-friendly maze, too.

fairy-garden-railroad-at-tagawa-gardens-denver

For kids of all ages, the Denver Garden Railway Society will be rollin’ down the tracks in a special two-train layout inside Tagawa’s all day on October 30th.  Members of the Society love their trains!  Their enthusiasm is infectious and they’re happy to talk all things railroad, so bring your questions, relax and enjoy!

Strut Your Stuff!

Youngsters of all ages (and the young at heart) are encouraged to wear their costumes anytime they visit Pumpkin Festival.  We’re especially inviting them to join us for a Children’s Costume Parade through Tagawa Gardens on October 29th.

All ages are welcome to walk along in this family-friendly parade. Children will receive prizes and other goodies along the way.

vinny-napping-on-pumpkin-tagawa-gardens-denver

This is no time to snooze!  Tagawa Gardens 2016 Pumpkin Festival calendar is loaded with laughter, entertainment, and educational programs, too!  For details on dates, times and tickets, go to our Annual Event page on our website.

It’s family fun the way it should be!

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Luan Akin
About 
Luan Akin
Tagawa Gardens Outreach Ambassador

After 30 years as a news reporter for KCNC TV in Denver, Luan Akin was ready for a change. In 2008, she came to Tagawa Gardens and offered to create a brand new position: Garden Outreach Ambassador.

Luan had trained and volunteered as a Douglas County Master Gardener for ten years. In addition to her duties as a news reporter, working primarily out of the Channel 4 News helicopter, Luan also produced and presented a long-running series of stories called “Gardening Together.”

All these years later, Luan now works year ‘round, presenting a variety of gardening and nature-related topics to hundreds of children, HOA’s, gardening clubs, church groups, small businesses and other organizations.

She is an avid gardener, a bee-keeper and a proud mom to five dogs who have trained her well.

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