Opening: Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch

Board the sweet train or shop for a good gourd, in Orange.

GIGANTRON GOURD: How'd your pumpkin patch do this past summer? Did you dutifully plant those seeds in a spot where they'd soak in just the right amount of sunshine? Did you water and fertilize and prune and sing to your growing gourds? And, one morning, right around Labor Day, did you peek out the window and think, "wowza, I might just have a winner out there, if I take it Irvine Park Railroad on Saturday, Sept. 23?" Then you, dear pumpkin person, deserve all of the mighty high fives. But high five you, we will not, for you likely have your arms full of super-sized pumpkin prettiness. If you did grow a biggin', all to enter it in the annual Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off at the Orange County destination, awesome, but if you just want to swing by the park, during the run of its annual Pumpkin Patch, well, that's wonderful, too. For while some folks will show with the pumpkins they grew, for competition purposes, on Sept. 23, other fall fans will shop for pumpkins from...

SEPT. 16 THROUGH OCT. 31, 2017: The popular patch debuts for the season on the third Saturday in Saturday, and keeps chugga-chugging right through to Halloween. The "chugga-chugging" part is a clue that the train is a much beloved aspect of this happening, but there are other kid-cute to-dos, from hay rides to the pumpkin ring toss. Getting into the patch, money-wise? So very free, but definitely bring a little dough for any of the activities, some snacks, and, yes, purchasing that perfect, stem-sweet, show-it-off pumpkin. Will you be inspired to enter the gargantuan gourd showdown in 2018? Be at the patch on Sept. 23 to see what regional families have been up to, pumpkin-growing-wise, this past summer. It's astounding, impressive, and scale-tipping, all at once.

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