Get ready for the fourth annual Carefree Enchanted Pumpkin Garden

CAREFREE – Halloween invades the town of Carefree in the form of whimsical pumpkin carvings from master sculptor, Ray Villafane, and his team for Carefree’s fourth annual Enchanted Pumpkin Garden happening October 19-28.

Pictured: Gourdy Gooligan one of Villafane’s characters featured at this year’s Enchanted Pumpkin Garden in Carefree, October 19-28. Photo courtesy of the Town of Carefree
Pictured: Gourdy Gooligan one of Villafane’s characters featured at this year’s Enchanted Pumpkin Garden in Carefree, October 19-28.
Photo courtesy of the Town of Carefree

The Enchanted Pumpkin Garden is a free event with a one-of-a-kind fall festival celebrating the magic of the season with the incredible artistry of Villafane Studios on display throughout the four-acre Carefree Desert Gardens in downtown Carefree.

Villafane has been called, “the Michelangelo of pumpkin carving,” by Martha Stewart, carved for the White House, and has appeared on numerous national TV programs as well as holding two entries in the Guinness Book of World Records. He’s also known for Food Network’s Outrageous Pumpkins competitions, which he won in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Pictured: Ray Villafane helps a local youth during the family instructional carving night at the Carefree Enchanted Pumpkin Garden in 2017. A 3-D carved pumpkin preserved and displayed in a tank resembling a saguaro. Photo courtesy of Carefree
Pictured: Ray Villafane helps a local youth during the family instructional carving night at the Carefree Enchanted Pumpkin Garden in 2017. A 3-D carved pumpkin preserved and displayed in a tank resembling a saguaro.
Photo courtesy of Carefree

Voted “Best in the Valley” fall event in 2015 and 2016 by Phoenix Magazine, visitors are invited to experience the many new mischievous pumpkin characters, artfully imagined and frolicking in their enchanted garden home.

In addition to the playful pumpkins and holiday vignettes, Villafane and his team will carve 3-D pumpkin faces, which are preserved and displayed in tanks that resemble Saguaro cacti scattered throughout the festival.

Another popular attraction is the giant pumpkin on display for visitor photos, with Villafane handling the massive carving duties the second weekend of the event. Villafane’s team of carvers will create new offerings daily throughout the garden.

Pictured: One of Villafane’s 3-D carved pumpkins preserved in pickling liquid and displayed in a tank resembling a saguaro at the pumpkin garden in 2016. There will be several 3-D pickled pumpkins spread throughout this year’s event. Photo by Tara Alatorre/Staff
Pictured: One of Villafane’s 3-D carved pumpkins preserved in pickling liquid and displayed in a tank resembling a saguaro at the pumpkin garden in 2016. There will be several 3-D pickled pumpkins spread throughout this year’s event.
Photo by Tara Alatorre/Staff

Highlights include:

Two family-instructional carving nights with Villafane on October 25-26, sponsored by Desert Foothills YMCA.

Costume contests with categories for kids, family/group and adults will be held on Saturday, October 27.

A pet costume contest will be held on Sunday, October 28, sponsored by Carefree Pet Resort.

A new weekend Haunted Happenings area, where for a $5 fee visitors will enjoy a petting zoo, pony rides, a haunted house, corn maze and other family-friendly attractions.

Other popular activities include: Basha’s “Adopt a Pumpkin” patch; a pumpkin pie eating competition, with pies provided by Venues Café; a Harvest Market, featuring vendor goods and autumnal treats; a beer garden featuring Four Peaks Brewery (and wine); culinary food trucks; and other special events will round out the week.

For more information about this annual event, visit CarefreePumpkinGarden.com or call 480-488-3686. For information about Ray Villafane and Villafane Studios, visit Villafanestudios.com.