ALTAMONT — What can one do with 7,000 pumpkins?
Save Halloween and create one of the area’s largest jack-o’-lantern festivals; at least that’s Bold Media’s answer.
Starting this weekend, the company, which specializes in broadcasting and events, will present a festival called Hollowed Harvest at the Altamont Fairgrounds, bringing in some larger-than-life pumpkin displays. The festival will continue through November 1.
“This was a terrific opportunity to bring a unique and novel experience for Halloween, something we’d previously not been involved in,” said Matthew Glasser, the CEO of Bold Media.
“We were thinking ‘What’s better than family fun and jack-o-lanterns?’ So why not build the largest jack-o-lantern festival in upstate New York and that’s what we went and did.”
Over the last 10 months, the team has been coming up with intricate and sizable designs like a slithering serpent, a massive dinosaur, a spooky zombie and more. Some of the displays are more than three stories tall and span 60 feet in length.
“They’re what we refer to as rot-proof but they are pumpkins. We have everything here from individual jack-o-lanterns all the way up to dinosaurs and arches. Many of these are as tall as two or three stories, it’s quite unbelievable standing there,” Glasser said.
They’re set up at the Altamont Fairgrounds, in a guided pattern that will allow families to social distance. It’s estimated that it’ll take families around 35-40 minutes to see each of the dozens of larger-than-life displays.
“Most of this was done on-site in a very short amount of time. It was a real team effort, a lot of people involved. People from Bold Media and we brought on a lot of local help to assist from the communities. It was a very big effort to make this possible,” Glasser said.
Given the fact that so many traditional events have had to be canceled or postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers felt it was especially important to hold the inaugural event this fall.
“The Hollowed Harvest is here to save Halloween. We’ve taken an extraordinary number of steps to make sure that this is a safe and family-friendly environment. Most Halloween is designed for scaring people. This is more about the beautiful part of Halloween. People are really going to love it, but it’s a great opportunity for people to come out and enjoy themselves in a safe environment and that’s first and foremost,” Glasser said.
It’s the first time that the company has held an event like this at the Altamont Fairgrounds.
“The Altamont Fairgrounds has a storied history and a great relationship with the community, something that we greatly admired and, given the fact that the fair did not take place this year, it just seemed even more like it was fate that we should be here to bring life to the fairgrounds,” Glasser said.
He estimates that the Hollowed Harvest will bring tens of thousands of people to the area throughout the fall. As of late last week, they had already sold out of some of the 30-minute time-slotted tickets.
Beyond controlling the number of people who enter the event at one time, organizers will also require visitors to wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“Our initial mission was to “Save Halloween” one way or the other. We want people to still be able to have a good time with safety first and foremost,” Glasser said.
The Hollowed Harvest opens on Friday evening and after that will run Thursdays-Sundays through November 1. Tickets are $16-20 and sold in half an hour time slots starting at 6:30 or 7 p.m. depending on the day. There will also be fall-flavored concessions available, such as cider donuts and hot apple cider. To purchase tickets, which are only available online, or for more information visit altamontfair.org/hollowed-harvest.