Carefree Hosts Great Pumpkin Commonwealth Weigh-Off During Enchanted Pumpkin Garden Event

This weekend, Carefree’ s Enchanted Pumpkin Garden becomes even more exciting with the addition of an official Great Pumpkin Commonwealth weigh-off. Several of the best giant gourd growers in the Southwest are bringing their obscenely large, fascinating, ginormous orange orbs to town Saturday, Oct. 19, 11am, at the Community Stage outside of Historic Spanish Village, 7211 East Ho Road in Carefree. Admission for the weigh-off event is free and is open to the public.

This event is in partnership with the Arizona Giant Pumpkin Growers Association with prize money awarded to the heaviest pumpkins attending. Winning pumpkins will be turned into fantastic Halloween creations by master carver Ray Villafane and the carving team at Villafane Studios during the festival.

The Town of Carefree Fifth Annual Enchanted Pumpkin Garden is a one-of-a-kind fall festival celebrating the magic of the Halloween season. The 2019 event takes place Oct. 18–27, with the incredible artistry of Ray Villafane and Villafane Studios’ carvers on display live each day, and their carvings found throughout the four-acre Carefree Desert Gardens. On weekends, this annual event boasts magical Halloween activities for both kids and adults, plus culinary delights and autumnal refreshments including a beer garden, a harvest market and live music.

There is no cost to attend the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off. Entry to the Gardens and Haunted Happenings attractions will require an event wristband at an additional charge. Admission to the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden is $15 Friday–Sunday; $10 Monday–Thursday. Children 2 and under enter for free. Free parking is available in and around the Gardens, and throughout the downtown area. For additional information, visit www.enchantedpumpkingarden.com/giant-pumpkin-weigh-off.


Cover photo: Desert Hearts Photography-Tiffany Copeland

Magical Halloween Event Returns To Carefree Gardens

pumpkinHalloween spirit invades Carefree for its second year in the form of whimsical pumpkin carvings from master sculptor Ray Villafane (www.villafanestudios.com). The Enchanted Pumpkin Garden will be open to the public and woven throughout the four-acre Carefree Desert Gardens. This free, one-of-a-kind fall festival celebrates incredible artistry and enchantment of the Halloween season for all ages and runs October 17-31, 10am-10pm, 101 Easy Street, Carefree.

New in 2016 will be the unveiling of Ray’s life size scarecrows, which are hand crafted mostly of organic materials. Visitors are invited back to stroll and experience the many new mischievous pumpkin characters, artfully imagined and frolicking in their magical garden home. In addition to the playful pumpkins, Ray and his team will carve 10 3D pumpkin faces preserved and displayed in tanks that resemble Saguaro cacti, sculpted and immersed in a pickling solution for preservation and lit by LED lighting. Ray will again, carve multiple “colossal” 400 pound pumpkins. Visitors are welcome to ask questions while kids can carve with him up-close and personal.

Other special weekend highlights include family carving nights with Ray Villafane and the Desert Foothills YMCA on October 26 and 27, reservations recommended. New this year, Jelly Belly will invite visitors to take the “Bean Boozled Challenge” and get their picture taken with the Jelly Belly pumpkins. Easy Street Galleria will offer kids crafts along with face painting by a local artist. Adopt a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, register for the pumpkin pie eating competition and enjoy a local craft beer garden along with culinary food trucks and autumnal treats. On Halloween, costumes are encouraged and kids are welcome to trick or treat at various stations throughout the gardens.

For more information, visit  or www.carefreepumpkingarden.com, or call 480.488.3686.

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