The Great Pumpkin Fest, Cherokee Recreation and Parks’ annual fall festival, is returning from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 23 at Cherokee Veterans Park, offering holiday and seasonal activities for the whole family.

This year’s free to attend festival will include a DJ, over 100 craft and food vendors, a hayride, basketball launcher, archery, crafts, kids activities, and more.

“We are offering so much this year, and we actually extended the time of the festival this year because we had so many people come out last year and we’d like to make sure there’s plenty of time for everyone to come out,” Special Events and Marketing Coordinator Bailey Johnson said.

Johnson said the festival will feature a costume contest, starting at 1 p.m., where kids can come to the festival in their Halloween costumes and enter into the contest to win a prize. She added that the prizes for the top three are still under consideration. Last year, winners received Kona Ice large, medium and small shaved ice servings.

Other kids’ activities will include face painting, a bounce house, and game stations. Kids will also have the opportunity to trick-or-treat with the vendors.

Instead of using the traditional pumpkin launcher, attendees will launch a big basketball toward a goal, Johnson said.

“People aren’t going to want to throw away their pumpkins this year because it’s before Halloween, so we worked hard this year to put the basketball launcher together,” she said. “Those in attendance can launch a big basketball and there will be a goal that they will try to get the ball into.”

Some aspects of the festival will have an admission fee, such as the bounce houses. Organizer Gary Lamb said that some of the vendors featured at the festival will include Revival South apparel company, Brandies Homestead Goods, Mad Mikes Tumblers, Joe’s Lonestar Tacos, Blue Joy Boutique, and King of Pops.

Cherokee Veterans Park is located at 7345 Cumming Highway near Canton. For more information, call 770-924-7768 or email bbjohnson@cherokeega.com.

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