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Pumpkin Fantasyland

Annual Fall Festival Returns at Fashion Farms

Writer / Robert Noah Torres
Photography Provided

Pumpkin Fantasyland is a part of the fall festivities that Fashion Farms, a 200-acre plot of land in Ligonier Indiana, hosts for the entire month of October. Within those acres, Fashion Farms houses businesses, residential spaces, restaurants and an annual fall festival called Pumpkin Fantasyland. Seated on 26 acres within Fashion Farm, Pumpkin Fantasyland is centered around family time, creativity and the imagination of the kids who attend.Pumpkin Fantasyland

Pumpkin Fantasyland is rooted in family fun time. Paired with creativity and child-like imagination, the fall festival encourages children and their families to interact with their surroundings and, in the spirit of the season, play. Jason Becker is the third generation owner of Fashion Farms and pivotal to all that Pumpkin Fantasyland has to offer. The original owner was Becker’s grandfather Charles R. William, more commonly known as Charlie Pumpkin. Hayrides, mazes and delicious pumpkin flavored donuts begin to paint a picture of what can be found at the wonderful Pumpkin Fantasyland, but nothing is more iconic for the festival than the pumpkin, gourd and squash displays that Charlie Pumpkin originally came up with and that Becker wholeheartedly continues to carry out.

This fall season Becker has been busy preparing for the festival. Prior to the October start date, Becker helps to grow the 46 different varieties of pumpkins, gourds and squash that make up the displays of Pumpkin Fantasyland.

“During the month, I help make the pumpkin donuts, pick the pumpkins, set up the displays, and make sure the guests all have a good time,” says Becker who is also in charge of developing the theme, ideas, and props that make up the infamous displays that define what the festival is all about.

There is a special theme to Pumpkin Fantasyland each year which is reflected in the festival’s displays. Displays range from animals and famous faces to storybook and movie characters. Guests can walk through the displays and are encouraged to interact with them. The theme for the 2022 season is celebrating Pumpkin Fantasyland’s 50th anniversary and Charlie Pumpkin’s legacy. The two go hand and hand as Becker’s grandfather started Pumpkin Fantasyland in 1972. Williams originally purchased the land as a grain and cattle farm where he raised cattle and had a roadside market. He originally sold beef and eggs but started a truck crop soon after he began to grow garden greens and fall crops. Peas, pumpkins, green beans, gourds and more were up for sale. To help get the attention of those driving by who might stop by, Williams created a little pumpkin display consisting of a pumpkin family seated on top of a picnic table. Made of pumpkin heads, buckets for bodies and dressed with clothes, “people got a real big kick out of that,” says Becker, who witnessed the scale and creativity of what his grandfather started expand exponentially.

Pumpkin FantasylandFrom the picnic table, Williams branched out to creating characters like Snoopy and making bigger scale displays that people could walk through. What originally started as a means to sell produce creatively grew and continued to grow “to a point where the Ohio Roadside Marketing Conference recognized grandpa as one of the founders of agritourism in the country,” says Becker, whose grandfather went on to speak around the country letting people know about what he was doing. Not just creative displays but things like hayrides and mazes were pioneered by Pumpkin who did so because he embraced and uplifted his community.

Spanning from October 1 to the 31, Pumpkin Fantasyland will host a Safe Kids Day which is in collaboration with Ligonier city. On Safe Kids Day children and families are given the chance to interact with city services and watch informative demonstrations. The street, water, fire, police and other departments of Lignoier put on a touch-a-truck type event and perform K9 and fire hose demonstrations. There is a full service restaurant on site and refreshments are available throughout the farm.

Pumpkin Fantasyland also makes its own ice cream and has a delicious pumpkin flavor. They also make their own pumpkin bread and “our pumpkin donuts are pretty famous,” says Becker, who last year had 23 states sign the guest registry.

Pumpkin Fantasyland at Fashion Farms Inc is located at 1680 Lincolnway W, Ligonier, IN. They can be reached via phone atPumpkin Fantasyland (260) 894-4498. To learn more, visit them online at fashionfarminc.com where you can join their mailing list and keep up to date on what’s happening at Fashion Farm. To further keep up with Pumpkin Fantasyland follow them on Instagram @pumpkin_fantasyland and Facebook.

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