Carefree, AZ – Enchanted Pumpkin Garden , 2015 – I

Just because we have temperatures over 100 degrees in the month of October doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate Halloween. That holiday is alive and well in the Sonoran Desert and the town of Carefree, AZ is in a spooky mood!

The Carefree Desert Gardensis hosting a pumpkin fest this year and there is a schedule of events for family fun. Some of the days provide opportunities to watch sculptors at work creating their special brand of Jack-O-Lanterns. You can find more information by clicking here.

To preserve the carved pumpkins, they are treated with a brine mixture and some are submerged in brine containers. In the picture below, for example, there is an artificial saguaro cactus containing a brine-filled glass container housing a carved pumpkin. Signs warn that although the saguaro may be fake, the needles are real; one way to discourage touching!

Saguaro with brined pumpkin

In the close up you will notice that there is a highlight at the top which is created by a blacklight. The gardens are open after dark and my assumption is the lighting adds to the mystery of the presentation.

Brined pumpkin with blacklight

There were many carvings in brine such as this bulldog

Carved Bulldog in Brine

a ferocious wolf

A carved pumpkin wolf

an Imp

A carved pumpkin imp

and a devilish character!

A devilish pumpkin character

*Other exhibits include pumpkins posed in human-like activities:

There was a William Tell wannabe and his target friend (not pictured),

William Tell-like pumpkin

It’s not easy being a pumpkin the desert so a nap is required every now and then

Tired, napping pumpkin

or perhaps a break relaxing by the pool.

Pumpkin relaxing by the pool

There are more than just pumpkins. There are witches hats although not the standard black issue.

An orange witch hat

Of course it is all about the carving by master pumpkin carver Ray Villafane.

pumpkin carver Ray Villafane

*It is noted that the pumpkins not enclosed in brine were made using artificial resources to keep them from being eaten by the native wildlife such as Javelinas. Also of note, some of the metal stands supporting the pumpkins in the “scenes” have been removed in the photographs.

Additional related posts will follow! originally published this post

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