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Legend, according to Charlie Brown’s festive friend Linus, states that on Halloween night the Great Pumpkin flies around bringing toys to believing children. While Linus is still waiting in the pumpkin patch, nearby great jack-o’-lantern festivals are delivering on the promise of fun for all who attend.
Though it maybe a little early for some to be thinking Halloween, these festivals are all about fall fun with dates in September, October and into November. From Long Island to the Hudson Valley, and a little farther off the fork in Rhode Island, get into the spirit with illuminating jack-o’-lantern-themed festivals.
The Great Jack-O’-Lantern Blaze in Hudson Valley
Considered among the tri-state area’s largest and most electrifying fall events, the annual Great Jack-O’-Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson is a stunning display.
Meander through an 18th-century landscape and gaze upon more than 7,000 illuminated jack-o’-lanterns, which are designed and hand-carved by 1,000 volunteers. This year’s event features the new Museum of Pumpkin Art, where classic paintings are reinterpreted with gourds serving as inspiration. Other exhibits include the pumpkin carousel, pumpkin windmill, pumpkin planetarium and a 25-foot jack-o’-lantern replica of the Statue of Liberty.
Most people take about an hour to walk through Blaze, but organizers suggest carving out 90 minutes to enjoy the displays to the fullest. This year’s dates: Sept. 20-22; 26-29; Oct. 3-31; Nov. 1-3; 8-10; 15-17; 22-23; 29-30
Tickets are now available at hudsonvalley.org/events
Rise of the Jack-O’-Lanterns at Old Westbury Gardens
The historic grounds at Old Westbury Gardens are transformed into a family friendly showcase of more than 5,000 hand-carved illuminated jack o’-lanterns creatively arranged along a scenic walking path and set to music. During the month of October, Rise of the Jack-O’-Lanterns features animated jack o’-lanterns, non-scary jack o’-lantern characters who talk and sing along the trail and live carving demonstrations.
There is also a café offering treats from Long Island vendors such as cider doughnuts and hot apple cider from Jericho Cider Mill.
This year’s dates: Oct. 4-6, 11-13, 17-20, 24-28.
Visit therise.org for tickets
Night of 1,000 Jack O-‘Lanterns on Governors Island
The journey to this jack-o’-lantern display begins with a quick ferry ride from the Battery Maritime Building in lower Manhattan to Governors Island. Night of 1,000 Jack O-‘Lanterns features more than 1,000 illuminated jack-o’-lanterns carved by artists from around the tri-state area and staged along a tree-lined pathway with centuries old buildings, including former military fort and prison Castle Williams, as the backdrop. The family friendly event also features live carvings and painted pumpkins.
This year’s dates: Oct. 17-20 and 24-27
Visit therise.org for tickets
Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular in Providence
If you’re heading up to New England this fall to check out the foliage, make a stop at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island for a family-friendly jack o’-lantern experience like no other. The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular features thousands of intricately carved pumpkins displayed along the zoo’s wetlands trail. Visitors may also hop on the zoo’s zip line, open every night during the festival, for a bird’s eye view of the illuminated jack o’-lanterns and Narragansett Bay.
The zoo is also hosting a special sensory-friendly Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular an hour before the trail opens to the public. It is designed for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The event is seven days a week from Thursday, October 3 through Sunday, November 3.
For details, rwpzoo.org