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Credit: Christine Zenino.

By Vince Font

Call me sentimental, but I’ve always found the greatest of fall festivals to be those centered around Halloween — in particular, pumpkin patch festivals and farms. I consider myself a bit of an aficionado when it comes to fall events like these and happily share my top picks for the  best pumpkin patch festivals across the country.

Circleville Pumpkin Show
Any pumpkin festival that holds a Miss Pumpkin Show (and Little Miss Pumpkin Show for the youngsters) pageant is one that’s straight after my heart. Such is the case with the Circleville Pumpkin show in Circleville, Ohio (October 20-23). Did I mention pumpkins thesize of small cars? Last year’s contest winner weighed in at 1635 pounds — that’s a lot of pumpkin pie. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Circleville, where I scored all the amenities of home plus easy access to the parades and happenings in town.

World Championship Punkin Chunkin
This November 5-7, those of you who have never seen pumpkins fired from air cannons and launched from catapults will finally get to really experienced all that pumpkin festivals have to offer. The Bridgeville, Delaware World Championship Punkin Chunkin offers a fun family experience for the more adventurous fall festival-goer, made complete with a pumpkin cooking contest and chili cooking contest (bring the antacid!). Unless you’re in the mood to camp out (which you can do, right there on the festival campgrounds) you can find some cozy lodgings just 8 miles up the road in Seaford, at the Hampton Inn Seaford.

The Plumper Pumpkin Patch & Tree Farm
If you’re seeking pumpkin festivities out West, here’s a great idea to add to your list of fall vacations: the Plumper Pumpkin Patch & Tree Farm in Portland, Oregon. In addition to an enormous pumpkin patch, you’ll also find hay mazes, huge 40-foot slides, pony rides, farm animals and a sport I predict will become big business one day: pumpkin bowling. No, really. My stay at the Courtyard by Marriott Portland Hillsboro in next-door Hillsboro was a pleasant surprise, too — the hotel has recently been renovated and is walking distance from an Old Spaghetti Factory.

Vince Font is a freelance writer born in Puerto Rico and currently escaped to Utah. When not dreaming of interstellar travel, he’s on the hunt for weird, wacky, and off-the-beaten-track vacation destinations. Next stop: The Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast.

Tagged: Family time

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Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina Kokotas Hahn is a travel writer and Chicago journalist whose work appears in Chicago magazine, HuffPost Travel and Condé Nast’s HotelChatter. Globetrotting since infancy, she’s the daughter of a travel agent and considers thrill seeking part of the DNA. Find her on Twitter at @ninakhahn.

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