Pumpkins: History, Culture and Community Celebration

Pumpkins: History, Culture and Community Celebration

Called “pompions” by the first European colonists, pumpkins were a food essential to winter survival – and they were grown in many more varieties than they typically are today.  The custom of carving pumpkins into Jack O’Lanterns was introduced to American culture by Irish immigrants, influencing our cultural landscape to this day. Traditionally carved from root vegetables, including  turnips and potatoes, new hybrids of pumpkins are grown specifically for carving.

Annual October events that bring communities together through the lens of food (pumpkins) and culture (Halloween) include…

2016 Community Events

Pumpkin Trail: Sat., Oct 22 from 5pm-7:30pm ♦ Fall and Halloween celebrations don’t have to be scary. You and your family can enjoy a guided walk of the Pumpkin Trail at Naumkeag, and learn about various woodland creatures who reside there. Costumes are encouraged and reservations are recommended. Guided walks will take place every 15 minutes and the event will occur rain or shine. 413-298-3239. 5 Prospect Hill. Stockbridge, MA. (Adult $; Child <$; child under 3 FREE)

Pumpkinfest: Sat., Oct 29 from 10am-9pm ♦ Celebrate autumn weather, the harvest of pumpkins, and local music at Pumpkinfest! This all ages event will feature live local music and dance all day long, as well as a pumpkin judging contest. There will also be a pumpkin decorating contest. Live music will include local artists such as Jimmy Just Quit and Curly Fingers Dupree. Visit the Franklin County Pumpkinfest Facebook Page for more information. Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Mark your calendars for these annual events for next year!


Excerpt from Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts (Seasons: Sept/Oct), a downloadable bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

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