Because of concerns about transmission of COVID-19, the Arboretum did not host the Pumpkin Festival or Winter Celebration in 2020. We hope to have these annual celebrations in 2021 but plans have not been finalized. Please check our What’s New? page this summer for the latest information.
Our Pumpkin Festival traditionally takes place in mid-October and features a pumpkin giveaway, jack-o’-lantern carving contest, lighted nighttime displays, and family activities. Volunteers help with event set-up, contest registration, jack-o’-lantern illumination, games and crafts, refreshments, and more. Many thanks to the Vargo family who has sponsored the Pumpkin Festival for eight consecutive years.
The ribbon winners of the 2019 jack-o’-lantern contest are shown below. The creativity and variety of the entries delighted festival-goers! You can see some of the jack-o’-lanterns in Penn State News.
Our annual Winter Celebration event is held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the last day of classes at the University Park campus. This has traditionally been a Friday in December. In the past, two a cappella groups, the PennHarmonics and State High Chamber Singers, presented a mix of seasonal and popular tunes at a stage on the event lawn in the middle of the gardens. The public can enjoy taking photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the overlook pavilion. Visitors tour the lighted tree displays throughout the gardens and in Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden through early January.