It’s autumn in Kentucky which means you have your pick of pumpkin events and fall festivities!
For the second year in a row, Pumpkins at Kentucky Kingdom transformed the amusement park into a fall wonderland. Louisville Water went behind the scenes to learn how much hard work and Louisville Pure Tap® it takes to create the seasonal displays scattered throughout the park.
You may be surprised to learn that Kentucky Kingdom grows its own pumpkins, plants, and even corn for the month-long event.
“Last year when we started our pumpkins event, they said we’re gonna need pumpkins and I said ‘how many?’,” shared Jason Anderson, the horticulture team manager for Kentucky Kingdom.
“Whenever there’s sort of a new challenge, I like to try to take it on and sometimes I do things the difficult way. So I said, I’m gonna grow the pumpkins.”
Louisville Water is thrilled to partner with Kentucky Kingdom this year. As you can imagine, pumpkins soak up quite a bit of Pure Tap!
“Pumpkins are probably 99.99% water. They’re a one-season plant that likes to grow in the summer. They like warm soil, but that also means you have to water the heck out of them,” Anderson explained.
“We always try to water at night because that water doesn’t evaporate and the plants get to use up most of that water. During the day, a larger percentage of that water is going to evaporate and then the plant can’t use it. It’s smart watering.”
While the more elaborate pumpkin displays incorporate décor items, Anderson and his team grow an abundant variety of the gourds: traditional, knuckleheads, Cinderella, polar bear, and Turk’s Turban, to name a few!
In addition, they plant about 1,000 mums solely for Pumpkins at Kentucky Kingdom which requires a drip irrigation system.
“They have to be watered so often; we want to make sure they’re watered efficiently. We actually grow three different varieties that bloom at three different times.”
Anderson and his team also harvested a corn crop for the event.
“Corn takes a lot of water. We grow it so that we can cut it down for decorations. Just because we want to be fun, we grew sweet corn, popcorn, and Indian corn.”
It’s easy to see Anderson is passionate about his job. He plans the landscaping down to the finest details of selecting colors that complement the surrounding buildings and rides.
“We’re kind of an island oasis in sort of more of an urban setting. When you go and you’re in the middle of Kentucky Kingdom, you look around and you can’t really tell you’re on Crittenden Drive. We’re proud of that. It creates a great atmosphere for our guests.”
Families like Ed Marin’s noticed the special touches.
“This was the first time my kids experienced Kentucky Kingdom and they raved about it. They loved seeing it decorated for Halloween and riding all the rides.”
Marketing Manager Logan Sanderson is excited to welcome guests to enjoy Pumpkins at Kentucky Kingdom and next season at a treat price.
“If you are not yet a season pass holder, you can buy a 2024 season pass and get the remainder of the year plus all of 2024,” she said.
Pumpkins at Kentucky Kingdom is every weekend throughout October. Enjoy fall snacks and beverages, the Pumpkin Parade, hay maze, and trick-or-treating for the kids!
Pure Tap Pro-tip: Bring your empty, reusable bottle to fill up at water fountains throughout Kentucky Kingdom.