A few months ago Carol and I went to Upper Canada Village, a park full of living history located about 90 miles east of our home.  It was our first trip there in decades and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.


We told a friend about our trip and she said, "A friend of my daughter has been working there all summer carving pumpkins - thousands of pumpkins.  They're having some sort of Halloween event this year."


When we saw an ad for Pumpkinferno it was an easy sell . . . we went to check it out.

Sunday October 7th - we pulled into the parking lot at 6:25, five minutes before the park was due to open - Yikes - there were a few hundred people lined up waiting for the ticket office to open.  Fortunately we already had tickets so we were able to by-pass the big line. 

Carol had phoned ahead and made sure the park was pet friendly.  They welcome dogs as long as you keep them on a leash and pick up after them.  So we dressed Zak and Blue up in their Halloween costumes and headed to the entrance.

Zak has a costume with a headless horseman saddled on his back and Blue wore a pumpkin cape.  They were a big hit with all the children!

The displays we encountered covered about half of the park.  The walking paths were lined with soft LED lighting and there were zombies along the way to keep us pointed in the right direction!


This was the first year for Pumpkinferno so we were not sure what to expect.  What we found certainly exceeded our expectations . . . in fact we were both totally blown-away!


The displays are full of imagination, wonderfully crafted and arranged to perfection!


The designers and carvers did a magnificent job!

The pumpkins are all artificial but extremely realistic in appearance; each one is made from a mold created using a real pumpkin.  They are made of plastic foam with an orange covering - when the covering is removed light will shine softly through the foam just as it does through the flesh of a real pumpkin.


You will be amazed what these creative people have achieved with nothing more than carved pumpkins and coloured lights.  Here are some examples:

The two pictures above show you the same scene, The Haunted Mill.  One picture was taken with the flash to show the pumpkins; the second picture demonstrates what you see after dark as you walk the park.  It's breathtaking!


Oh yes, that pile of pumpkins in the doorway?  That is the figure carrying the lamp you see here on the right.


It's truly ingenious how they have been arranged and carved!

It's really difficult to get good photographs at night.  The camera lens just cannot capture all that the human eye picks up in low-light conditions so these pictures really don't do justice to the displays we saw.  As you look at the pictures just imagine that everything is brighter and more vivid than it appears in the photos.


The brochure you receive when you enter explains the main grouping of displays you will see as you make your circuit of the park.  There are 30 main groupings but the grounds, trees and shrubs between those groupings are also alive with imaginative pumpkin art.


As you cross the bridge near the Mill you see ducks, fish and frogs all crafted from pumpkins.  There are carved critters everywhere - so we took our time and enjoyed it all!

Just down the path is Pumpkin Sea'd - an undersea themed display.  Look closely and you can find an octopus, snails, jelly fish, sea horses and a variety of other sea life and ocean plants - all formed by a pile of carved pumpkins.

This peg-leg pirate is protecting his treasure!  Gleaming gems are scattered at his feet, all made with pumpkins.  His parrot is roosted not far away!

The beaver dam on the left was made by the pesky beaver on the right!

Have you ever imagined a moose or totem poles made from pumpkins?  Neither had I  . . . but they sure were amazing!

We took a break in front of this pumpkin display.  They were carved by the local school children pictured on the right.

Here are a few more pictures to show the contrast between what you would see during the day compared to the night scene.  A pair of RCMP Officers in their scarlet tunics guard a door.  It's amazing how a little light brings them to life at night!


Below are some chess men and some aligators!

Over at the Tied Up Saloon some cow-pokes are misbehaving . . . one has his revolver drawn while the other threatens to rope and hog-tie him!

This waiter is serving outside Willard's Hotel

Upper Canada Village is located next to Crysler's Farm, site of an important battle which took place on November 11, 1813 during the War of 1812.  The British soldier and the firing cannon above honour the brave souls who fought to secure our county all those years ago.

This huge Chinese dragon is made entirely of pumpkins.  Look at the detail in his face!

The signs of the Chinese zodiac are depicted in the pumpkin lanterns hanging in a tree near the dragon!

Palm trees and Tiki Gods flank an erupting pumpkin volcano!

Egyptian figures flank this giant display of 256 pumpkins.  Each one bears a carved hieroglyphic . . . except one which has "Jack" the event logo.  Can you find Jack?

This wonderful garden scene showcases the light-hearted and imaginative approach the designers have taken.  A scarecrow stands amid the corn stalks as crows roost on the nearby fence.  The crop includes carrots, cabbage and even pumpkins . . . oh wait - they're all pumpkins!


Even the watering can and the shovel are crafted from pumpkins!

The cemetery beside the church is the scene of a wedding - congratulations to the happy couple - Mr. & Mrs. Zombie.  Their limousine waits, it's a hearse and the sign in the back window reads "Just Buried" and the license plate reads "Grim"

Zak and Blue took a break while we admired the clocks in front of the Clock Shop.

This clever scene depicts the evolution of man, rising from the ocean, soon walking erect and then becoming what appears to be a break-dancer on the right!

A headless horseman holds court in the stable.  The two horses you see as well as the lantern on the floor - it's all crafted with carved pumpkins!

Two medieval knights do battle in this scene!


This ghouls is climbing from his grave in front of a vegetable garden!

The lady's face adorns the trunk of a large tree and the three owls perch on a nearby bough.


As you cross the bridge to exit the park a mermaid relaxes on a rock in the river.


Naturally the last stop is the gift shop!  Take time to browse . . . there are even some of those wonderful carved pumpkins for sale!


We left the park at 8:00 p.m. and there were still several hundred people in line waiting to buy tickets . . . this is going to be a very popular event!

This is the group of talented eastern-Ontario artists who carved those amazing pumpkins!  Thanks guys - you did a fantastic job!


I wrote earlier that Carol and I were blown away by what we saw . . . and I guarantee that if you take time to visit Pumpkinferno you will be blown-away too!  It is truly amazing, I just cannot think of enough superlatives to describe it.


And this is the first year!  It's bound to get better and better as time goes on!


It's a terrific family event, there's nothing that will be too scary or intense for younger children.  It's great for the whole family.  Try to get there this year but if you cannot make it be sure to include it in next year's Halloween plans.  Carol and I have decided that from now on it will be a Halloween tradition for us!


There are several spots to eat on-site, everything from a light snack to a full sit-down meal. Check the web site for details.


Important tip:  Be sure to buy your tickets in advance to avoid the line-up. 


Complete details (and online tickets) can be found here:  http://www.uppercanadavillage.com/index.cfm/en/activities/pumpkinferno/


Have fun!

October 27, 2013

We made our second trek east to Upper Canada Village to enjoy an evening at Pumpkinferno.


It was a great night!


We started with a nice dinner at Willard's hotel.  We both had a warming bowl of soup followed by Chicken Pot Pie.  Very tasty! 

Carol had a delicious Apple Rhubarb Crumble for dessert and I had Blueberry Pie.

Then we started our walking tour!


Last year's crowds, in the first year of Pumpkinferno,  were significantly higher than the Parks Commission had expected so this year they have spread the displays out to cover a larger area.  Good thinking!  They have added over 1,000 new pumpkins so the display is 20% larger than last year and the news about this great new event has spread like wildfire.


By the time we left at 8:30 the parking lot was almost full, but the park did not feel all that crowded.

Every fencepost along the trail was marked with a stack of carved pumpkins which created an eerie environment as we followed the walkway through the village.


The displays were very creative.

A deep sea diver and an octopus!


A volcano and palm trees.


A Tiki God


A parrot on a perch


The ground in front of the pirate is littered with his booty!


A Mermaid


This huge dragon reflected on the water


A muskrat swam past and rippled the reflection


Even the signs were crafted from pumpkins


Walk this way, foolish mortals . . .


Picture with flash . . .


The same picture without flash . . . spookier!


If you're looking for a great family outing, be sure to head to Morrisburg Ontario for a stroll around Upper Canada Village during Pumpkinferno.  It's a real spectacle!


Note:  If you're planning to go, be sure to visit their web site and buy your tickets in advance.  The lines to buy tickets can be very long but if you pre-purchase you can just walk right in!  There web site is here:  http://www.uppercanadavillage.com/index.cfm/en/home/