With a give-away of 5,000 pumpkins, scarecrow decorating, an autumn-themed maze, and even hay rides, Green Hills Memorial Park is celebrating the season.

The venue’s 6th annual Harvest Festival is Sunday, Oct. 14, located in the southern end of the memorial park, known as Arroyo Falls. The event is free to the public. 

According to customer service and events manager Jennifer Olvera, the popular event has drawn more than 4,000 participants, and expects to welcome the same number of attendees this year.

“We have arts and crafts for the kids to participate in, and there will be live music by the New Wild West Band, and line dancing,” Olvera said. “We also offer an autumn maze that’s simple and fun for everyone to walk through and enjoy.” 

Hay rides are another family-friendly activity. The rides traverse the festival area, and last seven minutes each, offering a relaxing and fun overview of the entire festival.

There will be food trucks on-site, as well. Olvera stresses with the exception of the food trucks, every aspect of the festival is completely free.

A scarecrow decorating event is another popular activity.

“To create the scarecrows, we work with nonprofits and elementary to middle schools within the community we serve,” she explains. “We provide the body of the scarecrow, and the groups bring arts and crafts items in to decorate their scarecrow and create a unique figure.”

Olvera laughs that while the festival refers to the decorating as a contest for participants, everyone wins.

“We donate $250 to each participating group, whether it’s a school or a nonprofit,” she says. “This year, Howard Wood Elementary in Torrance, Dapplegray Elementary School, and Crestwood Elementary in Rancho Palos Verdes are joined by the Community Child nonprofit in creating scarecrows.”

Once a scarecrow is complete, Olvera said that it’s placed in the pumpkin patch or maze as an added festive decoration.

Olvera stresses that “This is an event that’s fun for the entire family. We don’t set an age limit—it’s great for all ages, from infants to those 90 years old. There’s something for everyone.”

One special aspect of celebrating at Green Hills Memorial Park is the feeling of sharing a tradition with loved ones who have passed, she notes.

“If you have a loved one who is interred here, attending the Harvest Festival is one way to help keep those memories alive.” 

While every attendee receives a free pumpkin, Olvera says that often some pumpkins are left over, and those pumpkins are donated to schools and nonprofit organizations. 

Not sure what to do with your free pumpkin? There will be a pumpkin art carving demonstration and display on tap from pro pumpkin carver Doug Goodreau. 

Community mayors and city councilmembers will also be on hand to welcome the harvest revelers.

The Harvest Festival is Sunday, Oct. 14 from noon to 3 p.m.

Green Hills Memorial Park is located at 27501 S. Western Ave. in Rancho Palos Verdes. For more information, visit greenhillsmemorial.com, or call the event line at (310) 521-4460.

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