World-renowned artist carves enchanted pumpkin garden

Halloween spirit invades Carefree in the form of whimsical pumpkin carvings from master carver Ray Villafane.

The Enchanted Pumpkin Garden is open to the public and woven throughout the Carefree Desert Gardens. The display runs 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Oct. 16-31, at 101 Easy St., in Carefree. Admission is free.

This entirely free event celebrates incredible artistry and the enchantment of Halloween. Attendees are invited to stroll the gardens where Mr. Villafane’s 3-D characters will be posed. For more information visit carefree.org or call 480-488-3686.

The Grand Opening on Friday, Oct. 16, will take place all day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., according to a press release. Mr. Villafane will host a live pumpkin carving demonstration in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion.

Photo opportunities will be available with “King” Pumpkin, an over 500-pound carved masterpiece, as well as kids activities, music, and autumnal refreshments, the release stated.

Other special events throughout the two-week long Enchanted Pumpkin Display include special live carving activities, Oct. 17-18, and Oct. 24-25. There will be Picasso Pumpkin activities for kids, and live carving from Mr. Villafane and Villafane Studios.

On Halloween, the garden will be open until 10 p.m. with trick or treats and family-friendly activities and costumes encouraged, the release stated.

Each Villafane sculpture is a model of skillful talent and imagination. There will be over 30 playful characters, artfully imagined and frolicking in their magical village, as well as twelve preserved pumpkins in pickling tanks. The preserved designs will be on display in Saguaros, carved by Mr. Villafane, and lit by LED lighting, the release stated.

Based in Arizona, Mr. Villafane is a world-renowned American sculptor who has traveled throughout the globe fashioning exceptional figures and scenes out of pumpkins, sand and snow, according to the press release.

Mr. Villafane has been called, “The Michelangelo of pumpkin carving,” by Martha Stewart, carving for the President at the White House and on numerous national TV programs, stated the release. Mr. Villafane won the Food Network’s Pumpkin Challenges in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

For more information on the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden event and a full list of scheduled events visit carefree.org or call 480-488-3686. For more information on Ray Villafane and Villafane studios visit villafanestudios.com.

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