Homer resident Adam Freed didn’t hesitate to grab a wheelbarrow Saturday afternoon when he got to Theresa’s Pumpkin Patch in Little York.
Running ahead, his kids were on a mission to find the best pumpkins for carving.
Pumpkin-picking is a tradition for the Freed family, but this year’s Pun’kin Paloosa added to their fall festivities. Music blasted as people explored vendors’ tables in the parking lot of Anderson’s Farm Market, across from the pumpkin patch.
When the Great Cortland Pumpkinfest, traditionally held in the fall, was canceled for the second year because of COVID-19, businesses organized the event, inviting people and vendors to celebrate fall.
Six-year-old Desmond Freed kneeled by pumpkin after pumpkin, inspecting each for imperfections before settling on one roughly the size of his head.
“Frankenstein,” Desmond Freed said when asked what he had planned for his pumpkin carving.
His sister, 10-year-old Harpyr, was still considering her options, “Maybe an owl, since I did a cat last year.” She had quickly vetoed her dad’s suggestion to use a green squash to represent a witch — her heart was set on a big orange pumpkin.
“It’s just a nice fall day,” Adam Freed said. “I actually used to live right next door to Andersons’, so we’ve been coming here for a long time.”
Carting away their selection of gourds, the Freeds passed another group with its pumpkins — two of the largest at the patch that afternoon.
“We walked around in Anderson’s for a while, got some food and then we went to the pumpkin field and got the biggest pumpkins that we could find,” said Alyssa Poole of Cortland. Her daughter, 3-year-old Everly, was barely taller than the pumpkin. “We’re going to carve them, possibly paint them.”
While visiting the Pun’kin Paloosa vendors, Poole and her partner ran into their friend Kyle Jackson and his 4-year-old daughter Brianna.
The two little girls played together, coming up with ideas for their pumpkins.
At first, Everly wanted a ghost for her pumpkin, but quickly settled on simply the color blue — her favorite color. For Brianna, it was going to be a bright purple unicorn.
Although the Cortland County pumpkin festival didn’t happen this year, Poole said she didn’t mind.
“Honestly, this is better than the festival in my opinion,” Poole said. “They have a big pumpkin field for people to pick their own. They have music playing, so that’s awesome. We could keep our distance from everyone else if we wanted to. It’s been really nice.”