WAIMEA — Free pumpkins. Free entertainment. Free keiki rides. Free fun.
Did we mention free?
The warm Westside afternoon bristled with excitement as a steady and growing number of people filled the Waimea Canyon Park for the Family Fun Fest on the final day of the Kauai Fall Festival Sunday.
“Almost everything is free,” said Cindy Goldstein, industry relations for Dupont Pioneer. “A lot of people have never experienced the thrill of picking their own pumpkin. There is a growing demand on families’ income, and there isn’t anything like this during this time of the year.”
The highlight of the Kauai Fall Festival, a three-day affair starting Friday evening, was the free pumpkins offered to keiki to help celebrate Halloween.
“We had a thousand of our own pumpkins,” said Peter Wiederoder, Kauai site leader and Kauai operations for Dow Agrosciences. “Dupont Pioneer brought over about 500 pumpkins, and Syngenta Seeds brought over about 500. All of these pumpkins were grown on Kauai’s Westside.”
Wiederoder said they start delivering pumpkins to schools and other organizations to get them out by Halloween.
Tammy Puu of the Kauai All Girl Rodeo Association said they offered free horseback rides for keiki.
“Our rodeo schedule is done for the year,” Puu said. “And you know how we love to do community service. The girls are having fun. They’re even lugging pumpkins to their trucks.”
Bridgette Orsatelli and her 4-H petting zoo was going nonstop as the line of keiki waited their turn.
“My heart is full of love,” Orsatelli said. “We always do things like this. One day, if someone recognizes me as ‘The lady with the petting zoo’ on the side of the road with a flat tire and stops to help, that’s my reward.”
Kurt Toma was helping his wife at the Relay for Life booth, offering popcorn.
“We want to see this event grow,” Toma said. “When you see events like this, it makes me proud to be born in Waimea.”