Council looks at future of Pumpkin Festival


The Carefree Town Council viewed a presentation of possible changes to the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden event at their March 5 meeting. Under review were admission fees, layout of the festival and the possibility of Villafane Studios taking over the running of the event.

It was estimated the 2018 festivities drew over 100,000 people. If admission were charged it is likely that attendance would drop. However, if only 50,000 people attended with a $10 admission fee, that would generate $500,000 in revenues. Costs would be increased to fence off the event and for additional security. Two suggested layouts were also part of the presentation, as well as a proposal to allow Villafane Studios to take over the running and revenues of the event. Owner Ray Villafane is currently the lead pumpkin carver for the festival. If approved the changeover would be phased in over a three year period.

Also the Council was addressed by Captain Dan Whelan of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Captain Whelan is a 37 year veteran with the MCSO and has been a captain for 20 of those years. He is the new commander for the area and said he expects to be in this position for the next two and a half years. He stated that increased traffic enforcement would be a priority and plans are in place to have a DUI task force in the area for Bike Week.