Egg Harbor's Annual Pumpkin Patch Festival is one of the best events in Door County for kids. It's held in early October in downtown Egg Harbor. Going strong now for about two decades, Pumpkin Patch seems to have become synonymous with colorful fall fun on the Peninsula. People come from all over the Midwest and beyond, year after year, to soak in the feeling this busy event imbues. They eat, play, relax, and depart with cheer. Children are major participants in this festival.
Kids truly love Pumpkin Patch Festival, plain and simple. Why? Perhaps for them it's sort of a two-day mini version of Disney World or Great America. There is no Mickey Mouse or Hurricane Harbor Water Park to be found, but kids will have plenty to keep them enthused all weekend long. It's about lots of cool things going on, lots of delicious food, lots of sights to see, lots of rides, and lots of just plain fun to be had! In fact, Mom and Dad will have no trouble finding enough to do for all members of the family. So head on down to the Patch. You don't have to dress in orange, but you'll be in excellent company if you do.
When you arrive, you won't miss seeing the large inflatables, usually set up right downtown on one of the street corners along Route 42. Kids seem to relish bouncing up and down and all around in these giant and colorful shapes, which are great big air bags. Animal shapes, blocks, cubes, spheres, and slides provide intrigue for the little ones all the way up to the pre-teens. (Why didn't they have these when we grew up?) Can adults participate as well? Sure, why not. This activity is usually available throughout the two-day festival period, and even at its busiest the lines don't seem to take too long.
Park the smaller kids at the Storytelling tent, Face-painting station, or children's musician Randy Peterson's performance. Kids love these! There are vendor tents everywhere with arts, crafts, souvenirs, clothes, and food. At the Harbor View Park grounds you'll find a host tent staffed by the Egg Harbor Business Association, sponsor of the event. The friendly volunteers at this tent can help you find what you're looking for and provide the schedule of everything taking place. Pumpkin Patch tee shirts and caps abound.
Face painting is very popular with the children. Usually held in the gazebo at Harbor View Park, attentive, creative, and patient face painters create a whole new look for your child! This is not a rush job; time is taken to provide just the right look with a lot of detail. Colorful, funny, and even scary faces emerge from this artistic session! Most kids seem to want some kind of a fall pumpkin theme or even Halloween theme on their face. Hmmm ... it is that time of the year. And speaking of face painting, watch for the clowns. They usually appear at the major Door County festivals, always with a smile.
The rides for kids are set up in the parking lot and surrounding area down by the marina, just below Harbor View Park. One nice thing is that there are simple, slower rides like the little train for the very young, while the "up in the air" faster type rides appeal to the older children. You'll find arcade type souvenirs, and of course, more to eat, adjacent to the ride area. Be sure to take a stroll out to the end of the breakwater to see all the boats in the harbor of Egg Harbor. This facility is one of the nicest Door County has to offer and one of the better refuges in bad weather for boaters on the entire Peninsula.
Pumpkin Patch Festival features at least one larger name performer each year. Pictured here at the 2006 event is Randy Peterson, a well-known children's entertainer and music performer in Northeast Wisconsin. Don't miss it - this show is totally engaging for kids and grownups alike. Randy gets the kids hopping, stomping, moving, singing, smiling, clapping, and creating songs, often with their own lyrics. Randy has been working with and entertaining kids for over twenty-five years. Some kids have been lucky enough to have him as an artist-in-residence for about a week in their local elementary schools.
local merchants pull out all the stops for this event and run end of
season sales in their nicely decorated shops. Egg Harbor is becoming known as a place for higher-end merchandise and art work in various
media. Don't forget the restaurants for dinner. There are many choices
now with a menu to suit just about any need. Many have a kids menu.
So bring the whole family and partake of a Door County tradition that will make you smile. It's hard to do everything and see all the pumpkin exhibits in one day, so plan on spending the better part of two days. You'll be glad you did!
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