Explore Boxerwood by jack-o-lantern light next weekend

Cartloads of pumpkins are piling up at Boxerwood as the nature center gets ready for its annual Pumpkin Walk, set for next Friday and Saturday evening [October 25 and 26] from 6:00 to 8:30 pm.

The event attracts hundreds of local families, who come to explore the woodland paths by jack-o-lantern light.

This year, Boxerwood staff and volunteers have blazed a pumpkin path that wends its way over a bridge, into the woods, through the spooky “Eye” (an opening in the trees), and skirts a pond before re-emerging in the field.

Friendly jack-o-lanterns will light the way, “but who-o-o-o knows what other nocturnal creatures might be lurking in the dark!” warns Jess Sullivan, Boxerwood’s Early Education Coordinator and the Pumpkin Walk organizer.

As part of the festivities, Boxerwood has challenged campus and community groups to compete in a Pumpkin Tower carving contest. During both evenings, walkers will have a chance to vote on their favorites with dollar donations that go to support Boxerwood programs in the local schools. The winner will be announced on night two.

A $10 entry fee per family ($5 for Boxerwood member families) includes the Walk, tower-carving competition, live music (Friday only), and a candy corn-counting contest. Fresh cider and donuts will be available to purchase. Parking is free in the field on Munger Lane, near the festivities.

Boxerwood has also put out a call for solo jack-o-lanterns. Since there will be no moonlight during the the Pumpkin Walk this year, “we need more pumpkins than ever to light the way,” says Jess Sullivan. “So artists, families, scouts, campus groups – anyone willing to carve pumpkins – please bring them to Boxerwood before the event.”

In support, Discovery Heights will hold its annual Carve-A-Palooza on Thursday, October 24 at 2-5pm on the hill next to Waddell (corner of Jordan and Highland). This “pumpkin-carving party for Boxerwood” is B.Y.O.P (Bring Your Own Pumpkin) but otherwise free. Carving tools will be available to share.

Other groups that signed on early to carve pumpkins and pumpkin towers include Beta Club at Lylburn Downing Middle School, the Lexington-Rockbridge Jaycees, and the Environmental Law Society at W&L.

The drop-off for all jack-o-lanterns is in the Boxerwood field (on Munger Lane, off Ross Road) during business hours on Thursday, October 24 or before noon on the 25th. Carvers can retrieve their pumpkins at Boxerwood on Sunday or Monday to display elsewhere in town for Halloween. Unclaimed pumpkins will be composted.

If either evening program is canceled for rain, the Pumpkin Walk will be extended an extra day to Sunday [October 27] from 6-8:30. Stay tuned for more information or possible weather postponement on our website, Facebook page, or call 463-2697.

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