A Pumpkins On The Brain Treat-ment

A happy harverster in the pumpkin patch. PHOTO COURTESY HOLY NATIVITY SCHOOL

A happy harverster in the pumpkin patch.

The scene: Las Vegas Mc-Carran International Airport

The scenario: My red-eye flight back to Hawaii (traveling alone with my two sleeping kids) has been delayed 16 hours.

The silver lining: In the distance, I see a Starbucks opening up in the terminal. Suddenly, I feel everything is going to be OK if I can just get a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Make that a Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte.

I know this sounds farfetched, but it’s precisely what happened. Until then, I had managed to steer clear of my perennial fall favorite. Never mind that it has no real pumpkin in it and it’s not exactly a healthy beverage. At that moment in time, I needed that PSL.

But here’s the thing: It was a gateway drink. That lone latte made me crave all kinds of pumpkin goodies — pumpkin bagels, pumpkin doughnut holes, pumpkin mochi.

Now pumpkins are on the brain (and belly!). Well, ’tis the season and I won’t have to venture far to get my fill.

Holy Nativity School hosts its second annual Great Pumpkin Festival Saturday (Oct. 18) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on campus next to Aina Haina Shopping Center. Holy Nativity’s head of school Tim Spurrier pitched the idea for a free, fun family event last year.

Spurrier explained the motivation this way: “Families had to travel fairly far to get the experience of picking their own pumpkins for Halloween. By having the pumpkin patch right here in Aina Haina, we were able to provide a service to the community.”

That’s true. I remember the long drive in 2010 from Hawaii Kai to Aloun Farms’ pumpkin patch in Kapolei. We found our perfect pumpkin and captured the memory with a photo of my then-toddler son pointing to his pick. But that was the only time we did it.

Aloun Farms will present the largest pumpkin patch in East Honolulu with more than 2,000 locally grown pumpkins. The inaugural Great Pumpkin Festival was a huge hit. In addition to the pumpkins, a country store featuring local goods was a big draw.

This year, there will be more activities for older children. In addition to a keiki fun zone with fall-themed arts and crafts and games, there will be competitions.

Spurrier says, “We really wanted to focus on some old-time fun activities like corn-husking and watermelon-eating contests.”

At noon Saturday, there will be kids’ costume and doughnut-eating contests, followed at 1 p.m. by corn-husking and watermelon-eating contests.

It just so happens there’s a new Starbucks right across from Holy Nativity School, where you can pick up a Pumpkin Spice Latte, if you dare.

Free parking is available at Aina Haina Elementary School, Aina Haina Park, Aina Haina Shopping Center and in the community.

Pumpkins will be available for purchase Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information, call 373-3232 or go to hawaiipumpkinfest.com.

Aloun Farms Pumpkin Patch in Kapolei is open weekends from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. There’s free admission if you bring two trash bags filled with clothing, bed and bath donations.