Pumpkins disappear the right way at Washburn
About 500 given to attendees at 1st-ever festival

       Turning around a sad experience, the Ruth Washburn Cooperative Nursery School, 914 N. 19th St., attracted an estimated 700 people to its inaugural “pumpkin festival” Oct. 18. The Ruth Washburn playground was full of energy during the preschool’s inaugural Pumpkin Festival Oct. 18. An 
estimated 700 people, many of them unassociated with the school, attended the event.
Westside Pioneer photo
       "It was fantastic," said school office manager Mikki Riggin of the free two-hour event, which featured games, entertainment, pumpkin-carving and playground fun and attracted people from the school as well as the general community. "It couldn't have gone any better."
       At its peak, "between 400 and 500 pumpkins" were available on school grounds for people to take home, she said. By the end of the festival, just one pumpkin remained - "one lonely pumpkin," she laughed. "Maybe nobody wanted to be the one who took the last one."
       This was a far cry from the school's two brushes with criminality earlier in the month. As-yet-unknown thieves first stole the 30 pumpkins that Washburn children had planted from seeds in the school garden; then, when good samaritans donated replacements, those were stolen too. But in the end, many, many more pumpkins were donated than ever got stolen.
       Responses from the public at the festival were also favorable. Riggin said people liked school leaders' idea of making the festival an annual affair. "Mostly when people came up to our welcome booth, they'd tell us how sorry they were," she said. "But when they left, they were focused on how much fun they were having. This turned into a great thing. If there ever was a silver lining, this was it."

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