Party in the pumpkin patch

Prince Albert band Between Bridges performs during the inaugural Pumpkin Festival at Paintball Paradise on Sept. 29. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald.

It’s appropriate that plans for a fall pumpkin festival began in a vegetable garden.

George Lewko was on a vegetable growers tour in Martensville when he saw the owners building a stage in a small out-of-the-way corner. He was surprised to hear they were going to put on a music festival. He was shocked to hear they expected to cram more than 200 people into such a small area.

“I was going, ‘you’re going to put 200 or 300 people in this little wee area?’” Lewko remembered during an interview on Saturday. “He says, ‘yeah.’ I thought, ‘I’ve got a way bigger area than that.’”

That’s what got George and his wife Kathie thinking about holding a similar festival of their own. The couple already had an annual pumpkin display that drew interested visitors to their paintball field roughly 5 km southwest of Prince Albert. They also had an employee who played in Friends, a local Prince Albert band, and who could put them in touch with other groups as well.

The end result was the inaugural Pumpkin Festival at Paintball Paradise, which officially kicked off on Sept. 29.

“There’s a huge change,” chuckled Lewko, whose organizing experience centres on paintball tournaments, not music festivals. “It’s very different dealing with bands…. I love them. They’re creative, but they’re very hard to track down some times, but I go with the flow pretty good.”

Local musicians weren’t the only ones helping get the first-year festival off the ground. Off the Cuff Improv was also on hand to provide entertainment, as were cast members from the upcoming Spark Theatre performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

“It’s good to work with everybody that you can work with,” Lewko explained. “The local bands have been awesome. They’re just easy to work with. They’re so flexible.”

Lewko added that it’s too soon to tell whether the pumpkin festival will become an annual event. However, if the demand is there, they’ll happily consider doing it once again.