Fall and Halloween sites and events dominate Louisville: Huber's, The St. James Art Fair, Caufield's Halloween Parade, Halloween Street, and even tours of the Waverly Hills Sanatorium for true thrill-seekers. This year, Louisville was chosen as a new site for the Jack O'Lantern Spectacular, an event displaying more than 5,000 illuminated pumpkins carved by commissioned local artists. For the past 12 years, Passion for Pumpkins has thrown this event along the eastern seaboard but is now venturing south to Louisville.
Iroquois Park hosts the Jack O'Lantern Spectacular through November 2nd. Thousands of carved pumpkins line a one-third mile winding trail through the woods behind the park's Amphitheater (spectacular in its own right and widely considered to be the best live music venue in Louisville). Primarily grouped by country in a "World of Pumpkins" theme, the Jack O'Lanterns also feature sections of horror, Kentucky, pirates, and cartoons. You can buy concessions - standard fair food like kettle corn, funnel cakes, and corn dogs, plus beer and wine - prior to starting the tour. Passion for Pumpkins expects at least 3,000 visitors a day during the three-week run of the Spectacular.
Based on what I've seen, there will be no problem exceeding that number. We attended the event Saturday night with a group of friends, frankly expecting something cheesy but were pleasantly surprised at how cool it was. It took us well over an hour to complete the trail because there was so much to marvel (and photograph). Here are a few of my favorite Jack O'Lanterns from the Spectacular:
Obviously, the artists will replenish the Jack O'Lanterns as needed so the event changes throughout the next several weeks. We plan to go back at least once so the kids can see it. Aside from a little spooky music, I think even easily scared children would enjoy this event (although you may want to attend early in the evening, before the trail is pitch black).
Jack O'Lantern Spectacular
1080 Amphitheater Road
October 10 through November
Open 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., Fridays and Saturdays
(Tickets are $15/adults; $13/seniors; $12/children 3-12)
Open 7 p.m. to midnight otherwise
(Tickets are $12/adults; $10/seniors; $9/children)
Credit cards accepted
Proceeds benefit Louisville Metro Parks Foundations and Kosair CharitiesPin It Now!