The Arboretum at Penn State

Special Events

Because of continuing concerns about transmission of COVID-19, the Arboretum will regrettably not be hosting the Pumpkin Festival or Winter Celebration in 2020.

Pumpkin Festival

One Bad Bug Jack-o'-lantern

One Bad Bug Jack-o’-Lantern

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.

2019 Jack-o’-Lantern Winners




Pumpkin Festival Gallery >


 Winter Celebration

Fireplace Scene at Winter Celebration

Fireplace Scene at Winter Celebration

As part of  the University’s strategy to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,  students in the fall semester will not be returning to campus after Thanksgiving Break, but rather, will finish the semester via remote learning. Because students are an integral part of Winter Celebration, the Arboretum will not be hosting this event in 2020.

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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.

Winter Celebration Gallery