Silver Dollar City's Pumpkin Nights
How high can you count? Probably pretty high. But when you get to Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri to enjoy the theme park's new Pumpkin Nights event you might go orange in the face trying to count all of the pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns placed around the venue. So we'll just go ahead and tell you: there are a whopping 10,000 of them!
Silver Dollar City, cited as one of the Top 5 amusement parks in the United States in the USA Today Readers' Choice Awards, is an 1880s-style theme park where wholesome fun for the whole family is the order of the day. And there is plenty of it! Roller coaster lovers will find an array of breathtaking rides including Time Traveler, the world's fastest, steepest and tallest roller coaster that also has rotating coaster cars, while tours of the on-property Marvel Cave offers thrills of another sort. There's the mystifying Grandfather's Mansion with its slanting floors and mirrored walls, the Frisco Silver Dollar Line Steam Train ride, and Fireman's Landing with its eight-story fire tower free-fall drop ride. These are just a few of the highlights of a place where you can easily spend several days and still not have done everything.
Pumpkin Nights is the evening portion of Silver Dollar City's Harvest Festival, going on now through Oct. 26. During the festival's daylight hours the theme is Craft Days, where the fun includes demonstrations by artisans who blow glass, throw pottery and paint on feathers to mention a few. When sunset arrives Pumpkin Nights takes over as a dazzling array of jack-o-lanterns flicker in the darkness. Those 10,000 pumpkins we told you about? 6,000 of them, ranging from tiny cute ones to behemoths, are real. The other 4,000 or so are "replica pumpkins" made from a special composite material that makes them sturdy enough to be carved. Visitors will not only see hundreds of the more traditionally-styled, grinning jack-o-lanterns, but also patterns featuring lots of animals, from bats to cats to owls to skunks. There are intricate patterns, some carved by in-house master carver Barry Brown, who also gives pumpkin carving demonstrations. And really impressive are the multiple-story depictions of a cat, spider, scarecrow and other Halloween types. And look up once in a while; yes those are giant pumpkin-headed owls in the tree branches! You never know "who" you'll meet around the next corner.
Master carver Barry Brown's pumpkin carving demonstration
Replica pumpkins carved by Barry Brown
Silver Dollar City is known for offering good old home-style foods, and chicken both smoked and fried, BBQ beef and pork, catfish, and longtime favorite succotash are on the menu, as are goodies like cinnamon rolls, root beer floats and an endless list of other sweet treats. But the park's creative culinary staff has gone all out for Pumpkin Nights, and during the event fun-seekers can load up on pumpkin funnel cake, pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin apple fried pie and churros that come with pumpkin fluff dip. And don't worry about indulging; just stop by the Pumpkin Plaza for the black light dance party where you'll burn calories effortlessly while you groove in front of a stage decorated with giant pumpkin inflatables.
Silver Dollar City's holiday event An Old Time Christmas begins Nov. 2 and runs through Dec. 30. 2020 is the park's 60th anniversary, and the jubilee that they have planned will be spectacular. For information on Pumpkin Nights, tickets, park hours and upcoming events go here.
For information on other fun things to do in Branson go here.
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