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Pumpkin Fest Time - Jim Thorpe, PA

The Pocono Mountains are packed with tons of fall foliage, Halloween and other harvest time events to revel in. Last weekend a friend and I escaped with my grandsons, taking a long but gorgeous ride to Country Junction’s Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival, which started Sept. 29th and runs Saturdays and Sundays through October 28th from 11 to 6.


We got there right after it opened Sunday morning, and there was already a nice crowd. But not crowded! The festival is set up to the left of the store adjacent to corn fields that to movie buffs like me, bring back memories of creepy night-walking children with demons inside. Luckily we were there during the day and the kids had no idea what was going on in my head!


We entered the place and immediately stopped for apple pie, pretty much my M.O. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a slice; it was by the enticing $8 pie only. Scrumptious muffin 4-packs were there for $4, along with all kinds of caramel- and candy-covered fall treats and carnival fare. We grubbed on apple dumplings and cherry turnovers then moved on into the park area. You get two choices—either $8 wristbands for everyone entering the Ghost Town, or $8 for riders only in Midway Rides, the amusement park section.


My little scamps chose the route through Ghost Town and away we went.  First they explored the pirate-ship playground beckoning through the fence on the way in. Climbing, sliding, dancing with Scooby, Dora and Elmo were top priorities. Then onto the Enchanted Woods, a sparse collection of let me just say eccentric jokes and somewhat dilapidated ghouls, ghosts and zombie biker…babies? Lynched Scooby?! Okay, you get the picture. Us big kids were cracking up while diverting the little ones to the less freaky aspects of that tour.


On we delved through the Magic Garden, let’s just say, quickly. Then it was time to get our pirate slang on and Dig for Treasure, trading in baubles for taffy at the end of our thorough and addicting excavation. From there we aimed for the ponies but the Hay Ride won out. Worried about looming clouds chasing the sunshine, we took our chances and jumped on.


The daytime trail wasn’t haunted or all that interesting, but the hilarious tour recording and Halloween song made it into quite a lark. Until the jinx showed up. Yes, rain. A slow drizzle started halfway back and our deadpan stares said it all. Starting to pour just as we circle past the bloody Santa (huh???), dry havens in sight…a pony trailer pulls right in front of our turtle-like tractor and stops to load. While we sit. In the rain. Soaked. We spent a few minutes complaining and second-guessing the drivers, then came to the same conclusion. Forget this! We climbed down and stomped through the corn, racing for the nearest tent. Ahhh, glorious fall.


Luckily the tent we ran into was full of bounce houses, so off went the shoes and in went the kids. A little soggy but no worse for wear, after that it was time to grab our sugar-topped pie and blast through the 3D Explosion before heading home. We missed the corn maze, pony rides and Fright Nights at the haunted Waldorf Hotel (Fri.-Sun.), but in good plain fall fun, we had it all.


Fall is the perfect time to visit the Poconos! Explore our almost edible fall vistas, hiking hot spots, haunted houses… find forgotten graveyards and witchy wanderings all your own.


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