Westside Pioneer Home Page

Orange you glad the giant pumpkins are coming back to OCC Oct. 21?

The first-ever Giant Pumpkin event in Old Colorado City was held Oct. 1, 2005. This photo shows a pumpkin waiting to be unloaded from a pickup truck that morning, while in the background the Coronado High School Homecoming Parade passes down West Colorado Avenue.
Westside Pioneer file photo
Oct. 9, 2017
       Like the vegetation it's named after, Old Colorado City's Giant Pumpkin Festival just keeps on growing.
       This year, Saturday, Oct. 21, the weigh-off will move to a larger parking lot - the Colorado Square (Jake & Telly's) commercial center at 2616 W. Colorado Ave. - which will additionally offer vendor booths and a truck-delivered “pumpkin patch,” according to Pam Gressett.
       She's organized the free festival for several years for the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group. The time frame is 10 a.m. to roughly 5 p.m.
       “Every year we've tried to make it bigger,” Gressett summarized in an interview.
       Overall, it's the 13th year for the event, which the OCCA started in 2005 with little more than a rented scale, a dozen area growers vying for a $300 prize and the prestige of being the national Great Pumpkin Commonwealth's first sanctioned weigh station in Colorado.
       Since then, the number of entries has doubled, and the Commonwealth is holding five weigh-offs around the state this year. Such competition can lure major growers away from Old Colorado City - the last weigh-off of the season - but Gressett is hopeful that OCC's
As in 2016 (photo above), vendors will again set up shop in the parking lot of the Colorado Square commercial center at 2616 W. Colorado Ave. during this year's Old Colorado City Giant Pumpkin Festival. New this year: The square will also host the pumpkin weigh-off, on the west side of the lot.
Westside Pioneer file photo
increased purse for 2017 ($600 for the biggest pumpkin, $300 for second and $100 for third) will attract some of the vaster vegetables.
       The weighing process, starting with the smallest entries and working up from there, will commence around 2 p.m., Gressett said. The process usually takes an hour or so.
       The former weighing location - the parking lot at Old Town Plaza (25th and Colorado) - will be used as a fun area this time, including various games and activities, costumed characters in the Wizard of Oz theme and a broom-dancing group called the Witcheroos.
       Also part of the festival is the "Giant Spirit Tour," in which ticket-purchasers can sample beer and wine at more than 10 Old Colorado City restaurants/taverns. The proceeds will help OCCA afford the increased pumpkin weigh-off prizes, Gressett said.
       Costing $25, Spirit Tour tickets can be bought at the OCCA Welcome Center, 2324 W. Colorado Ave., or on Eventbrite from the OCCA website, shopoldcoloradocity.com.
       Other festival activities may be found in Bancroft Park, where several Farmers Market vendors are expected to stay through the afternoon; at 26th and Colorado, where the Wallbaum Band will play; and on the avenue, where numerous merchants are planning sidewalk sales, Gressett said.
       Adding to the fall aura, the OCCA's also-annual Scarecrow Days contest will be going on, in which judges will pick two winners from hand-made scarecrows on display outside OCC merchants' stores.

Westside Pioneer article
(Business: Events)

Would you like to respond to this article? The Westside Pioneer welcomes letters at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)