Pumpkins and Pilsner at Estes Park – Estes Park Trail-Gazette

  • Pumpkins were everywhere during the weekend’s event which featured plenty of kid-friendly activities, from bouncy houses to an obstacle course, tug of war and yard games. (Wendy Rigby/Estes Park Trail-Gazette)

  • Local breweries served their specialties at Pumpkins & Pilsners...

    Local breweries served their specialties at the Pumpkins & Pilsners event. (Wendy Rigby/Estes Park Trail-Gazette)

Bright blue skies, cool temperatures and the smell of fresh pumpkins filled the air at Estes Park Bond Park on Saturday 8th October. The ninth Pumpkins & Pilsners event hosted by the Estes Park Education Foundation was a success, drawing a large downtown crowd.

“The Estes Park Education Foundation raises funds for education,” explained board member Zach Zehr. “Teachers can tap into us for different grants. We review applications and approve them for funding.

The weekend event featured plenty of kid-friendly activities, from bouncy houses to an obstacle course, tug of war and yard games.

And of course, the event had plenty of pumpkins for sale. Parents posed their little ones near the gourds for fall photos.

“We also bring a variety of bands,” Zehr said. “We have a lot of local food trucks. It’s almost like a taste of Estes when it comes to local brews. That’s about given space. A percentage of what goes to whoever benefits financially goes to the foundation. So it’s a really feel-good event that way. It’s kind of a kick-off for the fall.

While many of the people listening to music, eating and drinking beer were Estes Park locals, some visitors also joined in the fun.

Hannah Anding from Denver was on a family trip to Estes Park.

“I have a brother from Wyoming and parents from South Dakota, so it’s a good place to hang out,” Anding pointed out. “We are spending the weekend in Estes for a family trip. We didn’t even know it was happening, but we stopped. It’s very pleasant… a nice surprise.

Hannah Anding’s one-year-old daughter Adele played among the pumpkins as she popped bubbles from the bubble machine.

“We usually come to Estes Park in October to see all the elk and the colors,” Anding noted, “but there’s nothing better than pumpkins, is there?”

Pumpkins & Pilsners is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Estes Park Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

“Proceeds go to the foundation,” said board member Gayla Sullivan. “We provide funds for teachers to complete innovative projects and projects that otherwise might not be funded by the school district.”

Pumpkins & Pilsners was originally offered by Families for Estes. The event was taken over by the Estes Park Education Foundation six years ago.

The foundation had an information booth about the organization and was selling souvenir shirts for this year’s event.

For more information about the Estes Park Education Foundation, go to https://www.epeducationfoundation.org/.

Jack C. Nugent