A large family with several large, orange pumpkins.
Families in the Department of Plant Sciences spanned several generations at the department's 2023 Pumpkin Social, held at the Agronomy Headquarters. Everyone enjoyed a delicious barbecue dinner and went home with a bountiful array of splendid squash and gorgeous gourds they had picked themselves in the department's fields. (Trina Kleist/UC Davis)

Pumpkin Social a smashing success

A woman, man and child in a food serving area
Families from the Department of Plant Sciences enjoyed a barbecue meal with home-made beans during the department's 2023 Pumpkin Social. (Trina Kleist/UC Davis)

Children and elders alike enjoyed the Department of Plant Sciences' 2023 Pumpkin Social, the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic the annual even has returned in-person. At least 400 people attended, said organizer Vincent Vasquez, the department's new administrative assistant. Special thanks go to the helpers including co-organizer Susan Hendrickson, the department's administrative assistant for purchasing. Attendees included 50 volunteers, who directed parkers, flipped burgers, served up beans and buns, crafted with the kids, tractored the hay wagon, set up tables and stashed away chairs.

Note for next year: Bring grocery sacks and your collapsible wagon to haul back the treasures you'll find in the field near the department's Agronomy Headquarters. Pumpkins big and fat, short and squat, small and sweet saw competition in the fall splendor pageant from gourds with ridges and warts, crooks and crannies, all in orange, yellow, green, pale and gold.

Three women with orange-y light on their faces, standing in a field of low greenery.
People in the Department of Plant Sciences brought friends and picked pumpkins until the last light of the day during the 2023 Pumpkin Social. (Trina Kleist/UC Davis)

Offering salutations to guests were inflatable goblins and a display of gorgeous gourds and splendid squash set out on bountiful bales -- all the produce from Plant Sciences fields. Warm fall weather, those delicious lingering-harvest days, heightened the sense of celebration.

Thanks to all who came out and all who helped, reminding us of the abundance we enjoy in our Department of Plant Sciences family!

Photos available

See our Instagram and Facebook pages (@ucdavisplants) for more photos from this and other events this week.

If our communications specialist Trina Kleist took your family's picture and you'd like a larger-resolution image, please email her at tkleist@ucdavis.edu

Long low wagon, hauled by a tractor. People sitting on hay bales set on the wagon.
Tractor-drivers hauled guests on a hay wagon to a field behind the Agronomy Headquarters, where guests wound their way through twisting vines to select exquisite squash, great gourds and perfect pumpkins, grown for the event by Department of Plant Sciences staff. (Trina Kleist/UC Davis)

Media Resources

  • Trina Kleist, UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, tkleist@ucdavis.edu, (530) 754-6148 or (530) 601-6846

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