Get ready to find that perfect pumpkin

John Akal, Avenue Flashes
Posted 10/11/12

Although we have seen hints of it since Labor Day, once October rolls around, it’s time to start getting into the Halloween spirit. Costumes, …

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Get ready to find that perfect pumpkin


Although we have seen hints of it since Labor Day, once October rolls around, it’s time to start getting into the Halloween spirit. Costumes, decorations, party planning, trick or treating all add up to one of my favorite holidays. The memories of spooky days gone by always bring a smile to my face.

One of the big activities that always comes to mind is carving a pumpkin. OK, let’s be honest, as a kid, that’s one of the few things you can do where adults allow you to get elbow deep in a mess without getting into trouble. But half of the adventure is picking out that perfect pumpkin.

Of course, one can go to the grocery store and sort through the huge tubs they have there, already sorted out by general size, but that’s not really as much fun as heading straight to the source and roaming through a pumpkin patch.

I remember, as a kid, watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on TV and seeing them looking through a pumpkin patch for their perfect specimen, but by that time most of the pumpkin patches in this area no longer existed. You couldn’t just run down the street and find one. But as I got older and traveled more around the area, I discovered that yes, these places do still exist, and there are two right here in Jefferson County worth noting.

First on the list is the Denver Botanic Gardens at the Chatfield Pumpkin Festival, 8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road in Littleton. They have all kinds of fun things going on, including a 10-acre pumpkin patch, hayrides, food and craft vendors, and children’s activities. It’s only going to be open this coming weekend, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13-14. They also have a great corn maze next to it, so you can get lost there as well. Admission runs from $4 -$7, depending on age and Botanic Gardens membership; kids under 2 are free though. There is a separate fee for the corn maze.

For more information, go to or call 720-865-4336.

Another one that really captures that old-fashioned “out in the country” feeling is Mueller’s Little Farm, 6190 West Bowles Ave., also in Littleton. Of course they have a pumpkin patch, but other fresh, farm vegetables and autumn things like spiced cider are for sale. They are also offering activities, including a carving station, soccer patch, kids games and a bouncy house.

Admission to this one is free, and it will be open Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 13-28, plus Thursday and Friday, Oct. 25 and 26. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can get more info on that by calling 303-810-1466.

Now that it’s getting chilly

As the weather turns cooler, it’s time to be thinking about something to warm your insides, and for that, a hot bowl of chili comes to mind. Of course, you will want to wash that down with a cold beer, so what better way to combine those than to head to the “Knock Your Boots Off” beer-tasting and chili cook-off event sponsored by the Golden Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, Oct. 20.

This one is going to be 2-5 p.m. in the parking lot at 12th and Arapahoe streets, the old Foss parking lot. If you want to enter your favorite chili sample, you can download an application on the Golden Chamber website,

Tickets are available in advance and run $20 for beer and chili, or $15 for beer only. They will also be available on the day of the event, but will be $5 more, so get them in advance if you want to go.

If you need to find out more call the Golden Chamber at 303-279-3113.

Opera without the Phantom

The Jefferson Symphony will kick off it’s 2012-13 Winter Series Season on Sunday, Oct. 21, with a concert entitled “An Afternoon at the Opera”.

This will feature guest artist mezzo soprano Kara Guggenmos, and include Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances” from “West Side Story,” Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod” and Richard Strauss’ “Four Last Songs” and “Der Rosenkavalier: Suite.” Dr. William Morse will be conducting.

The concert begins at 3 p.m. at the Green Center on the Colorado School of Mines campus. Tickets are $22; seniors, $17; students ages 10-21, $10; and children 10 and under, $5.

Now, I have to say that I have been involved with the Jefferson Symphony and played with them several times for many years, and this is one terrific orchestra; 75 members. You will truly enjoy the music, and it’s right here in your back yard. If you have never been to one of their concerts, then go. Take the kids, too, because at $5 a ticket, you won’t find a better experience for them, and they really will enjoy it.

Season tickets are still available online at

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multimedia production.


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