EAST COUNTY — It’s back.
The Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival will kick off Saturday, Oct. 13, with hundreds of crafters and vendors; live music by new headliner Buffalo Country and others; a smorgasbord of food; hayrides; and other family-friendly festivities.
The annual festival, held at Hunsader Farms, 5500 CR 675, Bradenton, will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the next three weekends: Oct. 13 to 14, Oct. 20 to 21 and Oct. 27 to 28. Entry is $8 for adults; children 12 and under are free. Parking costs $5 per vehicle.
This year’s festival will feature longtime favorites such as children’s train rides, charity pumpkin games, a petting zoo and frog-jumping championships, but it also will include new acts such as America’s BMX bike stunt show and the Top Bird Exotic Bird Show, both featured acts from the 2012 season of “America’s Got Talent.”
“All the things they have loved in the past, they’re still going to find, but they are going to find new things, too,” festival co-organizer Trish Hunsader said, noting seven onsite venues will be offering entertainment. “We always try to improve and change just enough that our faithful visitors will still find new things to experience.
“For people who have never come before, I can’t think of a more upbeat, positive, wholesome environment to come with your family,” she said. “It’s really an entertainment bargain. There is so much entertainment, I don’t know if you could possibly see it all in one day.”
New this year, as well, will be a 100-by-100-foot inflatable air-conditioned pumpkin tent, in which guests can cool off and enjoy live entertainment, including the Top Bird Exotic Bird Show.
The festival also will continue to offer a plethora of homemade carnival-style games that raise money for local charities, such as The Children’s Dream Fund, Community Haven for Children and Adults with Disabilities, Family Network on Disabilities, Foundation for Dreams, SOLVE Maternity Homes and others. Hunsader Farms supplies the games and prizes, while charities supply volunteers and earn 100% of proceeds.
“Over the last 21 years, we have raised more than $360,000 for these organizations, just $1 at a time,” said Jim Baar, who oversees the Charity Pumpkin Games. “(It’s) pretty cool. A big ‘thanks’ to our community.”
Special events during the festival also include this year’s annual Manasota B.U.D.S. (Bringing Up Down Syndrome) Buddy Walk Oct. 20. A Collector Car Show will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 21, and a children-only costume contest and trick-or-treat will be held the last day of the festival, starting at 1 p.m. Oct. 28.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
IF YOU GO
Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13 to 14, Oct. 20 to 21 and Oct. 27 to 28
Location: Hunsader Farms, 5500 CR 675, Bradenton.
Cost: Admission is $8. Children 12 and under get in free. Parking costs $5. Corn maze costs additional $2. Attractions brought from outside sources have their own prices.
Details: 100 craft booths, live music and dance performances, live shows, hayrides, scarecrow displays, a petting zoo, frog-jumping championships and more
Oct. 13 & 14: Buffalo Country Band, The O’ Donnells, Sweeney Family Band, Mean Mary, Mountain Brew Walker Brothers Circus, Farm-ly Feud Game Show, Top Bird Act from America’s Got Talent, America’s BMX Bike Stunt Show from “America’s Got Talent”
Oct. 20: Buffalo Country Band, The O’Donnells, Sweeney Family Band, Mean Mary, Old Time Music with Ed & Geraldine, Walker Brothers Circus, Top Bird Act and the Smage Brothers Stunt Show
Oct. 21: Collector Car Show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Farm-ly Feud Game Show Buffalo Country Band, The O’Donnells, Sweeney Family Band, Mean Mary, Old Time Music with Ed & Geraldine, Walker Brothers Circus, Top Bird Act and the Smage Brothers Stunt Show
Oct. 27: Buffalo Country Band, Watching Wendy Band, Sweeney Family Band, Meann Mary Music, Old Time with Ed & Geraldine, Walker Brothers Circus, One Man Band, Farm-ly Feud Game Show, Top Bird Act andAmerica’s BMX Bike Stunt Show
Oct. 28: Kids-only costume contest and trick or treat, Buffalo Country Band, Porchdogs Band , Sweeney Family Band, Mean Mary Music, Old Time with Ed & Geraldine, Walker Brothers Circus, One Man Band, Farm-ly Feud Game Show, Top Bird Act and America’s BMX Bike Stunt Show
* See Hunsaderfarms.com for a complete listing of event.
MANASOTA B.U.D.S. BUDDY WALK
When: 10:45 a.m. Oct. 20; registration and activities start at 8:30 a.m.
Where: Hunsader Farms, 5500 CR 675, Bradenton.
Benefits: Manasota Bringing Up Down Syndrome
Details: One-mile walk through Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival grounds. Event also features face painting, free T-shirt, raffles and silent auction and more.
Cost: $15 per walker; children under 3 are free. Individuals with Down syndrome walk for free.