Auburndale Pumpkin Glow returns
Event will benefit Toys For Tots
BY HUB CITY TIMES STAFF
AUBURNDALE – The annual Auburndale School Forest Pumpkin Glow is back for another year. This year’s event is planned for Oct. 15 from 5-9 p.m.
“It is something that a few other places around the state had,” says Auburndale Ag Instructor and organizer Mark Cournoyer. “We wanted to do a fall event at our school forest, and something that would be a benefit to a local organization, so we teamed up with North Wood County Toys For Tots, and it ended up being a tremendous hit,” Cournoyer added.
Over 2,500 people showed up on a windless, 65-degree night in October 2021, and organizers are hoping to capitalize on that success again this year.
“We have pumpkins donated from several different growers, and all of our students come together on the Friday before the pumpkin glow and carve over 300 pumpkins, and we set out 300 tiki torches, and there’s a corn maze, and a beautiful night of walking, vendors, concessions, and this year we’re having face painters, and there’s hot chocolate, and we have maple cotton candy,” Cournoyer adds. “It’s a fall fest at night.”
The Auburndale School Forest trails are ADA accessible. “Very family-friendly,” adds Cournoyer. “Load your strollers. Push the kids through the trails that are all improved that you can take a stroller through. If you have a four-wheeled electric scooter, people come in those.”
Admission to the event is a free-will offering. “And what we do with the funds is we shop local. Auburndale High School shops at Hiller’s Hardware. We buy toys for kids who are 18 months to 18 years,” says Cournoyer.
“We take any of the monies that they raise, we take the FFA kids and we shop for toys for our Toys For Tots program,” says Margie Schmidt, Coordinator of the North Wood County Toys For Tots chapter. “We usually do our shopping the end of November, and then we start our toy distribution in December,” Schmidt adds. “We will have myself out there (Pumpkin Glow) to represent Toys For Tots, but we will also have some of the FFA kids dressed up as different characters.”
And while the Pumpkin Glow is all about having fun, Cournoyer does use the event as a learning experience for his Auburndale students. “It’s part of our forestry program. Also, it fits into our horticulture class, because we also plant our own pumpkin patch and harvest that,” Cournoyer says. “For my class this thing fits every niche. And we’re pretty proud of our school forest and its proximity to our school, the amount of use it gets by the kids in our school, and just the amazing things that can come about with a little positivity and a little promotion.”