The 21st annual Ontario Pathways fundraiser is Saturday night

CANANDAIGUA — It’s that time of year again.

Join Ontario Pathways for its 21st annual Pumpkin Walk, which takes place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Ontario County Fairgrounds, 2820 County Road 10.

Visitors can enjoy a walk in the moonlight as hundreds of hand-carved pumpkins twinkle in the dark.

Ontario Pathways Coordinator Sue Turner said this is truly a magical evening.

“This event is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the season and help support Ontario Pathways," Turner said.

Roughly 800 pumpkins are donated from area farm stands and growers to prepare for the event, which is the organization’s major fundraiser. The 25-mile trail system, which is open year-round from dawn to dusk and is free to the general public to use, is composed of two “legs” of abandoned railroad corridors, the Canandaigua leg from Canandaigua to Stanley and the Phelps leg from Stanley through Flint, Seneca Castle, Orleans and ending in Phelps.

Pumpkins are then distributed to carvers, such as those at the Canandaigua Middle School, Canandaigua Academy, Phelps Community Center Daycare, Honeoye School District Art Club, Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES, Shortsville Girl Scouts, Wildlife Society of Finger Lakes Community College and 4H groups.

"There is a wonderful variety of pumpkins carved by groups ranging from young 4Hers to college students to adults,” Turner said. “We're always amazed at the great job people do."

When the pumpkins start to decompose in the days following the event, members of the Bloomfield Middle School and High School LEO Clubs come out to roll them off the trail.

"They have such a good time doing it, laughing and singing as they go,” Turner said. “One year they were howling up a storm and we turned to see them walking down the path with the pumpkins on their feet!"

The walk is suitable for all ages and strollers are allowed. The round-trip walking distance of about one mile includes a stop for refreshments.

Admission, which includes refreshments, is $4 per person. Children 2 and under are admitted free. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Pets are not permitted.

There is plenty of free parking at the fairgrounds. Rain date is Sunday, Oct. 13.