It’s time for everyone’s favourite cool-weather, pumpkin-filled season to begin! The transition into fall brings with it an array of vibrant colours that convert the city into a beautiful autumn wonderland, encouraging everyone to throw on their coziest sweaters, grab a hot chocolate and enjoy the many events that this time of year is known for!
Back by popular demand is Pumpkinferno: a magical event held annually at Upper Canada Village near Morrisburg, ON, that’ll simply take your breath away. Set against a 19th-century backdrop, this event brings over 7,000 pumpkins to life in a delightful walking tour through over two dozen exhibits.
Each pumpkin is hand-carved with the goal of giving guests an engaging sensory experience - think modern art meets family-friendly fun!
Designed, created and carved onsite – and using the ambiance of the iconic buildings, fences and majestic treeline of Upper Canada Village – the artwork makes this event a one-of-a-kind fall experience that you won’t find anywhere else in Canada.
Definitely bring your walking shoes and dress for the weather, as it’ll take you roughly an hour to make it through all of the exhibits - but we wouldn’t blame you if you spend much, much longer. You’ll want to take in the enchanting details of classic exhibits such as Patriotic Pastimes, The Great White North and Night at the Gallery, and experience the vibrancy of funky choices like Mesozoic Monsters, Psychedelic Sixties, Cycle Through Time and Steam Punk Station.
At some point during your adventure through this pumpkin wonderland, be sure to make a stop in the general store on site. It will be open during Pumpkinferno and will be selling everything from Halloween décor to handcrafted items made by the village artisans. Early Christmas shopping perhaps?
To go along with these vivid exhibits are delicious treats (fall-themed of course) for you to snack on après village walk. Here are just a few highlights that will give you a taste of the fun that you and your friends and family can expect to enjoy at this year’s Pumpkinferno.
1. Throwback to the ‘Psychedelic Sixties’
Get groovy as you’re transported back in time to the best of the sixties! From a trippy sound and light display to psychedelic designs, you’ll be embracing your inner hippie in no time.
2. Salute our Canadian heroes at ‘Patriotic Pastimes’
Pay tribute to our country’s rich sports history as you take a moment to reflect upon the stories, people and teams that nod to Canada’s well-known sportsmanship.
3. Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Village Café
Did someone say sugar cookies? You’ll likely be back for seconds and thirds. Don’t bite before you ‘gram though - it’s our guess that they’ll be the most talked about thing at Pumpkinferno, aside from the pumpkins of course. Pair them with their signature Pumpkin Spice Latte and you’ll be fuelled and ready to head out on your pumpkin trek!
4. Peruse fine art at ‘Night at the Gallery’
Browse this museum-themed exhibit and spot some of your favourite iconic paintings recreated in the form of a pumpkin carving – and you thought you’d just be looking at Jack-O-Lanterns!
5. Dig for ‘worms in dirt’ at the Village Café
This is a nostalgic classic that all the littles look forward to at Pumpkinferno. It might be messy, but it’s 100 percent worth it. The goal is to get all the worms out with just your tongue. Ready, set, go!
6. Sink your teeth into a delicious pumpkin tart
A favourite at last year’s event, they’ve brought this pumpkin delicacy back for another round. Baked by a local artisan, these pumpkin delicacies were a festival hit last year, and are likely to be one again!
7. Celebrate the Day of the Dead
Step into a wedding celebration mixed with the popular Mexican holiday, Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Get ready for sugar skulls galore – believe us, this isn’t a trick!
8. Enjoy loads of family fun at the ‘Pumpkin Park’
Enter this interactive park through an archway made up of 500 smiling pumpkins! From trying your strength at powering a Pumpkin Tower, to exploring a Pumpkin Art Gallery, to Pumpkin Hopscotch, to striking a pose behind the Shadow Scream, you’ll experience a world of pumpkin-themed fun!
9. Refuel with the ultimate grilled cheese
This well-known favourite is always the most popular item on the menu at the Village Café. Made with local cheddar cheese slapped between two freshly-baked slices of bread (both made on site!) that are grilled to perfection, this sandwich is meant to literally melt in your mouth. This is the perfect snack to compliment your trek through the Pumpkin Village and warm you up on a chilly fall evening. Did someone say #ComfortFood?
10. Treat yourself to a slice of pumpkin pie
The historic Willard’s Hotel will be offering a special pumpkin-themed, three-course meal for $35 that all festivalgoers must check out. Ending your night with a piece of creamy pumpkin pie is the cherry (or dab of whipped cream) on top of the perfect fall evening!
Pumpkinferno launches on September 28 and runs through to October 28, welcoming guests on Thursday through Sunday evenings, with exceptions like Thanksgiving Monday. Tickets are $12 on Thursdays and $16 on Fridays and weekends and are now available to be purchased online. Come celebrate the best that autumn has to offer at Pumpkinferno!
Make a night of it! Call 613-543-0660 to reserve a table at Willard’s Hotel or the Harvest Barn Restaurant before you head into the festival. Even better, turn your visit into an overnight getaway with a night in one of Upper Village Canada’s historic accommodations – it’s a win-win.