Every pumpkin counts. They mean it.
Big ones, puny ones, even the ugly ones have a home in the City of Highwood’s Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival. The 10th annual fest takes over downtown Highwood through this weekend with a daily lineup of music, food stands, activities, and celebrity appearances—all in an endeavor to support Make-A-Wish Illinois.
Sponsored by GEICO and HGTV Magazine, the last three pumpkin festivals have raised $140,000 to help grant wishes for kids with critical illnesses in Illinois. To commemorate the fest’s 10-year milestone, organizers would love to double that donation in 2019. With a focus on the good will of the greater community, three local Make-A-Wish families will host each night’s ceremonial pumpkin wall lighting—tying it all together for more than
Because every pumpkin is needed to make the displays grand, festival organizers are inviting the community to BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin) for free entry to the fest. An attempt to break the Guinness World Record of 30,851 for the most pumpkins carved and lit at once has always been a fun goal, this year, Highwood is emphasizing community.
All lit jack-o-lanterns will be placed on pumpkin walls throughout the festival grounds, with ceremonial wall lightings Friday and Saturday nights, and the grand lighting on Sunday evening.
As always, Pumpkin Fest will host fan-favorite activities including: all you can carve pumpkins; trick or treating; costume contests; petting zoo; carnival rides; kids’ crafts; three stages jam packed with live music; food and beverage vendors galore; and an October 12 Superhero 5K Pumpkin Run/Walk spon- sored by Midtown Athletic Club honoring “Superman Sam” Sommer, a Highwood resident and Make-A-Wish child that lost his battle with cancer in 2013. Join Highwood as it trans- forms into “Cinderella City” with nightly grand pumpkin wall light displays coupled with community camaraderie, all to raise money to grant wishes for Make-A-Wish Illinois. Here is the full line-up:
Friday, October 11
4 p.m.—Festival opens (rides, vendors, activities, all-you-can-carve pumpkins)
4-6 p.m.—Trick or treating throughout festival grounds
5–9 p.m.—Unlimited carnival ride special ($25 per person)
7:45 p.m.—Make-A-Wish family presen- tation on Main Stage and wall lighting
11 p.m.— Festival close
Saturday, October 12
9 a.m.—Superhero 5K Run/Walk sponsored by Midtown Athletic Club
11 a.m.—Festival opens (rides, vendors, activities, all-you-can-carve pumpkins)
Noon–4 p.m.—Unlimited carnival ride special ($25 per person)
8 p.m.—Make-A-Wish family presentation on Main Stage and wall lighting
Sunday, October 13
11 a.m. — Festival opens (rides, vendors, activities, all-you-can-carve pumpkins)
Noon to 4 p.m.—Unlimited carnival ride special ($25 per person)
Noon—Pet Costume Contest (sponsored by Pet People at the Party Lounge Stage)
1 p.m.—Kids Costume Contest at the Party Lounge Stage
2 p.m.—Teen Adult Costume Contest at the Party Lounge Stage
7 p.m.—Make-A-Wish Family Presentation on Main Stage and Wall Lighting
9 p.m.—Festival close
Admission is $5/day per person, or free for children 10 and under (which includes all-you-can- carve pumpkins). For more information, including the most current music lineup, visit celebratehighwood.org.