Something for everyone at annual Waimea Fall Festival: All-day event returns this Saturday

  • An MV-22, manned by Marines on the football field at Waimea District Park, will be a new attraction at the festival this year. (COURTESY PHOTO/RICKY GOMEZ)

  • Keiki can have a full day of fun at the festival with everything from face painting to outdoor field games, horseback riding, carnival games, inflatables and waterslides. (COURTESY PHOTO/WAIMEA FALL FESTIVAL)

  • Locally grown pumpkins will be among the many items available for purchase at the second annual Waimea Fall Festival. (COURTESY PHOTO/WAIMEA FALL FESTIVAL)

WAIMEA — The fall season will officially kick off this Saturday at the second annual Waimea Fall Festival at Waimea District Park.

Last year, around 5,000 people from around the island flocked to the event, formerly known as the Waimea Pumpkin Patch Fall Festival. Organizers are planning for an even larger turnout this year.

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From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the family festival will include locally-grown pumpkins, a farmers market, keiki games and activities, entertainment, Hawaiian crafts and demonstrations, a craft sale, exhibits and multiple food booths. General admission is free.

The event is hosted by Waimea Athletics with the support of Waimea Community Association and Parker Ranch.

Keiki can try face painting, a climbing wall, outdoor field games, horseback rides and a petting zoo. There will also be a wristband game zone featuring carnival games such as bean bag toss, milk bottle knockdown and a fishing wall. Wristbands also will be available for inflatables and waterslides. It is suggested that families bring their own sunscreen, swimsuits, towels and beach chairs.

Live entertainment will be featured throughout the day, with Ginger Bertelmann as emcee. This year’s musical lineup includes Hoaloha, Lorenzo’s Army, Mana Christian Ohana Youth Praise Group and Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko for Taiko drum demonstrations.

More than 15 food booths will serve up ono foods ranging from island BBQ, bentos, sushi, Chinese noodles and teriyaki BBQ sticks to Waimea greens and other local favorites, such as poke nachos and Hawaiian plates. There will be lots of beverages, including organic juices, Braddah pops, mamaki tea and shave ice, to keep everyone cool. For dessert, options include a gourmet cupcakes and topping bar, and fresh baked goods including malasadas and fresh baked pumpkin pies.

Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA), along with the U.S. Marines, will break new ground at the festival this year with impressive equipment for the public to see and feel. An MV-22 Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363, a United States Marine Corps tiltrotor squadron consisting of MV-22B Ospreys, will be on display on the football field. The squadron, known as the “Lucky Red Lions,” is based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 24 and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. PTA decided that bringing one to the festival would be a good way to inform the community with a show-and-tell.

The Waimea Fall Festival will feature other numerous community educational booths. Alex &Duke DeRego Foundation, Hawaii Wildlife Center, Family Support Services, Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project, North Hawaii Hospice, Parker Ranch, Pohakuloa Training Area Environmental and Recycling Programs, Cole Academy, Hawaii Safe Net, Keiki O Ka Aina and Thelma Parker Memorial Library will share what they offer with the community.

To skip having to wait in long lines at the festival, $1 scripts for keiki activities and food and beverages, $10 wristbands for the keiki game zone and $20 inflatables/waterslide wristbands can be purchased in advance at www.waimeapumpkinfestival.com for pick up at the will call window at the gym’s concession booth with ID. They will also be available for purchase at the event.

“We’re very excited to bring this festival to the community again this year,” Theresa Fernandez said, executive director of the Waimea Fall Festival. “Supporting our island community, businesses, education, organizations and youth are some of the goals we’re working on as we present this family-friendly, community event.”

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Parking will be available at Waimea District Park and on either side of Ala Ohia Road.

Info: Email waimeapumpkinpatch@gmail.com, call 989-7182 or visit waimeapumpkinfestival.com.