By Kelsey Givens
From pumpkins to hay rides, a haunted house and hot apple cider, the third annual Pumpkin Days at Ian Deutch Memorial Park this weekend will provide classic fall family fun for a good cause.
The event is a fundraiser for local group Pahrump Disability Outreach Program, or PDOP, which supports local disabled children and their families in the community.
With huge successes over the last two years, Nye County Sheriff’s Office detective and PDOP president, David Boruchowitz, said the group has worked hard to make this year’s event the best one yet.
“This is our third annual one and every year we vow to get bigger and better and make it a bigger event for Pahrump,” he said.
Besides including a large pumpkin patch, which the name suggests, Pumpkin Days this year will also feature a hay pyramid, hay rides, straw jump, hay maze, petting zoo, face painting, train rides and many other activities to entertain the whole family.
“Everything’s going to be the same activities, our hay pyramid we’ve enhanced to make it a little bit better and the tunnel a little bit bigger and different, our petting zoo we’re hoping to have even more animals this year and everything else should be the same as last year,” Boruchowitz said.
He added that in addition to the traditional activities the event provides, the group is also excited to premiere a new haunted house they have come up with for this weekend.
“We’re going to have a haunted house for the first time ever. And it’s going to be a medium-sized one to start out with, obviously we’ll be adding onto it as the years go on,” he said.
Though it won’t be over-the-top horrifying, Boruchowitz said the haunted house may be a little too frightening for the youngest children at the event.
“It’s going to be a medium scary one. You know it’s going to probably be a little too scary for the littler kids, but it won’t be super, super scary for the medium-aged kids. And probably next year we may do a separate one like a super young, kid friendly one, but we’re just trying to cater to some of the older kids who didn’t have as much to do as the little kids,” he said.
The group also plans to have police cars and fire trucks at the event for kids to see and check out as well as fall photo-op stations, so attendees are encouraged to bring their cameras.
A 5k Monster Dash sponsored by Affiliated Physical Therapy and Custom Health and Fitness is also planned for 8:30 a.m. Saturday and a children’s costume parade is planned for 4 p.m. the same day.
With all of these activities, Boruchowitz said it takes PDOP and many volunteers a full year to plan the event and a full month to put it all together.
“Well, the planning goes on all year, but actual time is about a full month of pretty regular work between all of our members doing everything. Obviously, the last two weeks is when we really start to put forth the time level,” he said.
And thankfully PDOP has volunteers not only from the community but neighboring communities as well who can help make Pumpkin Days run smoothly.
Though around 2,500 people attended last year’s event, Boruchowitz said with more promotion and new activities he couldn’t predict how many people might attend this year’s Pumpkin Days.
“You know we really increased our advertising this year, we sent postcards home with every student in the school district out here so we have no idea, we’re just hoping it’s going to be big. Last year was a huge success and with the increased advertising we’re hoping that we’ll see an even bigger attendance, plus obviously being on a holiday weekend we’re hoping that will help us as well,” he said.
Money raised from these types of events is used by PDOP to help reach some of their goals such as helping disabled children’s families with medical costs and bringing more services to the area for those children as well.
“You know a lot of ours are individual needs as someone has a medical need or something of that nature, but our continued goal of bringing therapists to Pahrump that was our initial goal and we’re still plugging away and striving to do that, so that’s one of our biggest goals and we’ve kind of tossed around the idea and really started to contemplate on working on trying to get a disabled children’s playground built here in Pahrump. None of our playgrounds are really capable of really servicing disabled children and we’re hoping that could be the next step for us,” he said.
Though funds raised by this event are important in helping PDOP reach their goals of helping disabled children in the community, Boruchowitz said more importantly Pumpkin Days is a good way for the group to bring a fun event to Pahrump.
“You know we really don’t dwell on that, believe it or not, too much; it’s really just become fun. I think last year it was $12,000 is what we brought in, so obviously our goal is to increase that year to year, but at this point, although it’s a fundraiser and that’s important, it’s really become a fun time to provide something to the community,” he said.
Pumpkin Days will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Single day tickets can be purchased for a donation of $5 per person and an all-weekend wristband can be purchased for a donation of $10.
For more information on this event or PDOP visit www.pdop.info