Oct 13th, 2018

Goblins and Gourds

Goblins and Gourds Harvest Festivalpumpkins in a harvest festival scene

Pumpkin painting, scarecrow stuffing, and food tastings are just a few of the things that you can see and do this fall at Goblins and Gourds to have some great family fun. We’ve got a day packed with fun for the whole family to get outdoors, enjoy the weather and enjoy a one of a kind hands-on educational experiences as part of our harvest festival.


• Enjoy live music and a gourd petting zoo from the Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra  (from 1-4 p.m.)
•  Children can enjoy pumpkin painting ⏤ each child gets to pick out a pumpkin from our pumpkin patch, paint it, and take it home with them — included for free with regular garden admission and free for Garden Members while supplies last).
• See pumpkin and gourd carving demonstrations. What harvest festival is complete without them?
• Taste seasonal foods and kids can participate in a hands-on cooking demo provided by Edible Education.
•Learn about natural dyes with Garden volunteer Judith Towers
• Stuff your own scarecrow for others to view.
• Learn about herbs and their uses by Owlcraft Healing Ways.
• Create your own pine cone owl, a craft provided by Scrap RVA.
• Blacksmith demonstrations by the Central Virginia Blacksmithing Guild.
• Storytelling by Shel Browder, who has been on stage with world-renowned storytellers in Colonial Williamsburg.
• Go on an Autumn Quest!  Search for and learn about the enchanting creatures who live in the Garden in this educational scavenger hunt. Pick up Autumn Quest at the admissions desk or print one before you come. Once you’ve completed the quest, bring the sheet back to the admissions desk, get it stamped, and receive a reward.
• March in a parade with the Garden Keeper and the Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra at 2 p.m. for even more family fun!

Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra provides music as a back drop for lots of family fun. Here they are with their gourd instruments.

Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra

Some of you may know about the Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra (RICO), but for those of you who don’t, allow me to explain. Gourds had been used as instruments all over the world for centuries so when Arthur Stephens heard the music in the 80s he was inspired. He began to grow gourds and started doing research on gourd music and instruments. After many trials and errors, he finally created his first legitimate gourd instrument–the friction drum. Soon after he invited friends to play with him to help him keep the folklore alive. Eventually, they officially became a band and emerged in 1993. Since then they have released multiple albums and play private and public events all over the country. They play their own style of music, which they call paleolithic lounge music. If you haven’t seen them before you’re not going to want to miss this.

We are so excited for this event and we hope you can make it out to spend the day with us at our harvest festival!

Samantha is currently a Senior at Virginia Commonwealth University studying advertising. She enjoys all things outdoors, traveling, and photography. She hopes to one day inspire others to enjoy nature just as she does and to help others understand the importance of conservation and preserving our National Parks.

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