Go big or gourd home: Ingham unleashes the jack-o’-lanterns

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MASON – Carve out some time this weekend and visit Jack O’ Lanterns Unleashed at the Ingham County Fair. With over 5,000 pumpkins on display, the jaunt through the fairgrounds provides guests with a variety of displays spanning half a mile that are sure to brighten up your night.

Carson Wamanga, who works concessions at the event, says Jack O’ Lanterns Unleashed helps him get in the holiday spirit. “It’s like preparation. I get to work in such a fun environment, and Halloween comes right after.”

“The Taylor Swift pumpkin is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” Wamanga said, the giant display playing the artist’s songs on a constant loop inside the fairgrounds, “It’s absolutely incredible.”

Rachel and Danny Murdock share the joy of the event with their young children, Lauren and Andrew. First-timers, the kids were excited by the countless pumpkins and decorations.

“We saw it (Jack O’Lanterns Unleashed) on Facebook. I’m excited for the entire ambience of the walk.” Said Rachel Murdock in front of the many photo opportunities at the entrance to the event.

On Thursday nights, guests can bring their four-legged friends for a trip down the extensive pathways. Barking fills the air alongside singing pumpkins, and the hum of generators powering the food stalls. Sweet smells from funnel cakes and elephant ears mix with the crisp fall leaves, following visitors as they walk.

Trisha Struck appreciated being able to bring her dogs to enjoy the pumpkins with her. “The Halloween season is great, and it’s amazing to get to view these artists’ carvings. I definitely couldn’t do that.”

“Jack O’ Lanterns Unleashed just adds to the excitement I already have. I usually dress up my dogs and hand out candy. This is just fun stuff beforehand.” Struck said, her dogs received plenty of pets and scratches from patrons along the way.

Wamanga enjoys being part of the guests’ experiences. The concession line he helps run is consistently full of people. “My favorite part is watching all the excited people coming through our doors. I love seeing them having fun, I’m also having a blast working here.”

Jack O’ Lanterns Unleashed runs until the end of October, and offers free admission to children under 14. Open rain or shine, tickets are available online or in-person for the remaining days of the 2022 season.

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