Cochrane Pumpkin Lantern Festival
I became a kid again when I arrived at the Pumpkin Lantern Festival. The wiry trees across the landscape of Cochrane Historic Ranche were the perfect creepy backdrop for goblin pumpkins scattered throughout. Daylight was quickly dissipating, so I took advantage of what remained to peruse and marvel at all the creative carvings that so many local businesses had contributed. Literally, there were orange spheres everywhere.
Along with dispersed pumpkins, a few competition displays were laid out for visitors to envy. Lynnsey Saare’s pumpkin patch won first prize this year. What she built however was nothing shabby—a Hot-Wheels 180-degree race car ramp connecting four pumpkins from start to finish. It worked like a charm and the hot wheels always landed right-side up. Fans huddled around to take turns on the stunt mobiles throughout the evening. The display and the crowd that inundated it were quite the spectacle.
The Pumpkin Trail
Dusk came quickly, but that only meant more to see and do. Candles emerging out of nowhere guided visitors toward the pumpkin trail. The darker the sky, the more people arrived; before long, visitors young and old began forming a line on a steady incline towards the Men of Vision at the top of the hill. It seemed no matter when people arrived, there was something fun and exciting happening.
The evening transformed from hiking the pumpkin trail to one of musical entertainment, compliments of the Cochrane High School Music Program. Had their sign not been hung up, I would have guessed a professional band was at work. These kids were good—good enough to capture the attention of a few hundred audiences on a cold snappy night. It also helped that a hot chocolate stand was within reach to keep the crowd warm and cozy.
True sense of community
The event organizers certainly planned well for the weather by having food and beverage vendors offer refreshments out front. At times, the line-ups were long but having played outside for hours on a cold autumn night, nothing was more welcoming than a hot dog and a hot cocoa. With good food and great entertainment in a festive environment, no wonder the event stayed strong until the very end. The kid in me simply did not want to leave. Cochrane’s sense of community never ceases to amaze me. Anyone can put together a Hallowe’en party, but the town of Cochrane seems to have a knack for making their events so all-encompassing. Their annual Pumpkin Lantern Festival is no exception.
Raeann Chueng – Guest Journalist and photographer