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Event 80: Toronto Pumpkin Festival…lovely family day out with so much potential

The Pumpkin Festival delivered by Superior Events was my last event in Toronto. I was exhausted and could not wait to get to the event – because that was me. I had then finished and completed the first of its kind…Around the World in 80 Events. And how much more could I get a Pumpkin Festival in Toronto on Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend…


What was the event?

What: Toronto Pumpkin Festival

Where: Downsview Park, Toronto

When: Saturday 12th October

Let the story begin…

A giant pumpkin festival met my eyes as I walked past the Saturday market (which had over 400 inside stall holders – very exciting market – not that busy but interesting). At the end of the warehouse was a large orange inflated pumpkin which welcomed everyone into the area. Although there was the pumpkin there was nothing else really until you looked into the field and there sat more inflatable slides, mechanical rides and a pumpkin patch.


This event was aimed at families and from 10am they were trickling in with the excitement of pumpkins that were dumped into the middle of the field coming out of large wooden crates. The aim of the event was obviously to make money from the trend the now of “immersive events”. Families were allowed to run around the pumpkin patch and kids were able to buy a pumpkin and then decorate with some of the arts and crafts items that were provided on the tables.

I liked the whole idea – yes it was slightly chilly but it was great to see something that was simple. Giving people the opportunity to buy a small pumpkin for $3 and a large for $5 and then to decorate that’s a nice wee day out. Yes, then the add on to the event was the inflatables, the rides and the catering vans.


For me this was just a simple “throw up event”. It was free to enter and walk around but I think they missed a complete trick for creating a story. As I have been travelling I cannot express how much events are now packaged in some amazing ways that take simple event plans and make them journeys. It is needed. And for me this event missed that trick.

I walked around and just felt as though I was at the event to spend money rather than buying in to the event. But don’t get me wrong obviously this event company organizes similar events but sometimes step back and use the potential the event can have. For an all day ride pass it was $25 – so if you have 2 children, 2 pumpkins and a food – its easily over $100 dollars – that’s just basic pricing. However, this might seem a lot of money but if the Toronto Pumpkin Festival billed themselves as “THE BEST PUMPKIN FESTIVAL IN THE WHOLE OF PUMPKINVILLE…” And if they created a pumpkin village and something that people can get an experience from rather than just a pumpkin $100 would have been no problem its buying an experience.


I really think the event has so much potential. I could see what they were trying to do – but I think throwing it up was what was done.

Being my last event of course I looked at the event completely differently and critiqued it harder than usual. But now I have finished I appreciate the hard work that goes in to building a product and its something that is very exciting.


One thing to take away…

Pumpkins. Something that is associated to Halloween, autumn and thanksgiving. Using the symbol of a pumpkin can give someone a certain feeling and excitement. I fully believe that this festival has a nugget of gold but needs to create the packaging for it much better.


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