Big pumpkins and cool books

Tim Van Schmidt

It was a perfect evening at Gardens on Spring Creek. At least perfect for a music fan. The event was a rare appearance in the region of legendary jazzman Herbie Hancock, closing the 2021 live music season at The Gardens in style.

Hancock has shown great creative strength on the piano and a willingness to push things to the limit with his electronics. His four-piece group followed suit, mixing otherworldly flute and guitar work for music that was both soothing and stimulating to the ear.

I’ll admit it. It was my first time hearing live music at The Gardens and I was impressed.

It was a full capacity event – presented in partnership with Lincoln Center – and there seemed to be room for everyone. The line was long for a drink, but I had an interesting conversation along the way. The sound was very good and that’s important when you listen to someone with the musical panache of Hancock.

The weather also cooperated on what was, in general, an evening of high end live music. I will be watching the music program for next year closely.

Live outdoor music can be played year round, but other events continue at The Gardens on Spring Creek. The big upcoming event is Pumpkins on Parade, scheduled for the evenings of October 21-24.

Autumn Lights (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)
Pumpkins on parade in Spring Creek Gardens (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

It’s a family-friendly event featuring a community carved pumpkin contest, colorful displays of lights, pumpkins and squash, pumpkin bowling, and entertainment by the Reading Retrievers, CSU Bug Zoo and TimFoolery the Magician. Food trucks and a full bar will also be available.

Pumpkin carving (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

If you’re a pumpkin grower and want to add to the festivities, The Gardens wants to hear from you.

Pumpkins on Parade runs from Thursday, October 21 to Sunday, October 24, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each evening. Advanced tickets are recommended. See their site at for more details.

Fort Collins Book Festival 2021: Spend time with a diverse roster of authors, participate in workshops, and celebrate an unofficial “Local Literature Month” throughout October with the annual Fort Collins Book Festival.

The Fort Collins Book Fest itself kicks off on October 20 with workshops including “Writing Historical Fiction”, a “Book Club for Mortals” and “Birds and Other Beings: How Poetry Takes Flight” with Loveland poet Veronica Patterson.

October 21 offers a scriptwriting workshop aimed at “getting you started on your scriptwriting journey”. Kathleen Sonnely is leading a workshop on October 22 titled “Alibis and Twists: Unlock the Secrets of Mystery Writing”.

The Saturday October 23 program is very busy with presentations, a concert and a look at horror fiction with Stephen Graham titled “My Heart is a Chainsaw: A Love Letter to Slasher Films”, all at Lincoln Center.

The main event will take place in the afternoon at 2 p.m. on October 23 when author Kali Fajardo-Anstine speaks at Lincoln Center. Her book is “Sabrina & Corina” and her appearance is in partnership with Fort Collins Reads, Poudre River Public Library and Connect to Curiosity.

The Book Fest ends with workshops on October 24.

Part of the effort here is also to spotlight other book-related events that take place throughout October as part of a self-proclaimed “Local Literary Arts Month”. Check out the Fort Collins Book Fest site at for more details – apparently there’s a lot more to come.

Correction of MoA: While reviewing a recent article, I found out that I was calling the Museum of Art Fort Collins by the wrong name. I called it the “Fort Collins Art Museum” and that is just not accurate. My fault.

There is still some time to see the excellent exhibition “Beauty and the Beast” at the Museum of Art Fort Collins, showcasing individual works and collaborations by creative artists Lorri Acott and Adam Schultz. This closes on October 17th.

Next up at MoA is “Blow Up II: Inflatable Contemporary Art”, which will run from October 29 to January 9, 2022. The exhibition “explores the imaginative ways in which artists use air as a tool to create large-scale sculptures. scale and includes images it’s figurative and abstract. ”See the museum’s website at for more information.

NOCO Live Music: In Poudre Canyon, Mishawaka celebrates its 20th anniversary with The Disco Biscuits, October 15-17.

Shlump is in downtown Fort Collins at the Aggie Theater on October 16, along with Onhell and Enenra. Also coming to Aggie: Aqueous on October 22, Del McCoury Band on October 27 and The Great Salmon Famine Halloween Party, with Shtonk Brass Band on October 30.

On the Avogadro’s Number program: Just Jazz Quintet on October 15, Mad Dog Blues on October 22 and Cowboys Dead on October 23.

Toby Keith is in Loveland at the Events Center at The Ranch on October 16. Glove Trucker is at Swing Station in Laporte on October 17th. The Matt Skinner Band plays Swing Station on October 29 and Guerilla Fanfare plays the Magic Rat on October 30.

At Washington: Delta Rae on October 15, Todd Snider on October 27, The Motet on October 29, and Lotus on October 30. Dar Williams is at The Armory on October 23.

Tim Van Schmidt is a Fort Collins-based writer and photographer. Explore his YouTube channel on “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt”.

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