October 15, 2003 | By: Aimee D. Heald

hayride in pumpkin patchKindergarten and first-graders in Clark County got to take some time out of their normal classroom routine to learn about agriculture at the sixth annual Pumpkin Festival held recently at the Clark County Fairgrounds during National 4-H Week.

The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension, along with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the local Farm Bureau came together to showcase farm products and practices. 

“There are several things we want to accomplish with the Pumpkin Festival activity,” said Frank Hicks, UK Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources in Clark County. “We wanted to get kids away from school where they can do some educational activities outside of the classroom.”

Hicks said many of the students do not come from an agriculture background and may not be aware of things like where their food comes from or how to make sorghum syrup.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture brought its ATV safety team to show kids the dangers of not wearing helmets and informing parents of their whereabouts while riding the vehicles. The KDA also brought Kentucky Kate, a life-size model of a Holstein cow with plastic udders so the children could see how it feels to milk a cow. 

A big part of the day was a hayride to a pumpkin patch where students were allowed to select a pumpkin to take home.

“The pumpkins come from a local farm,” Hicks said. “They get to take a pumpkin home, paint a pumpkin, and taste pumpkin muffins so that they see the pumpkins are good for more than decorations.”

They even got to play games with pumpkins. In one game, children threw hula-hoops around pumpkins. Hicks said the children also watched demonstrations on how to make sorghum syrup, how to weave baskets and also how to weave wool. He said any pumpkins the kids don’t take home will not be left behind. 

“Last year we had a wagon-load of pumpkins left after this event,” he said. “We pulled them out in front of the Extension office and sold several that way.”


Writer: Aimee D. Heald 859-257-4736, ext. 267
Source: Frank Hicks 859-744-4682