CALABASAS : Festival Pumpkin Is Patched, Relocated

The twice-scarred visage of a 30-foot, inflatable jack-o'-lantern has risen once again over western Calabasas, a week and a half after vandals ripped it from top to bottom and stole its generator.

"We want our friendly pumpkin up there to promote the Calabasas Days Pumpkin Festival," said Alan Ungar, chairman of the Oct. 23-24 event. "It's a symbol for us, so we persevered and patched it back up."

The bandaged, smiling pumpkin was reinflated Monday atop a car dealership south of the Ventura Freeway and west of Parkway Calabasas, Ungar said. Festival organizers spent about $1,000 to patch the orange mascot and replace the generator, he said.

It was the second year in a row that vandals struck the promotional balloon in Calabasas--whose name means squash or pumpkin in Spanish. The damage was worse this year, Ungar said.

A festival worker found the shredded jack o' lantern the morning of Sept. 24 on a hill north of the Ventura Freeway. The balloon is less accessible in its new perch, Ungar said.

"Hopefully, its new location will be safer so that everyone can enjoy the pumpkin and get into the spirit of Calabasas Days," Ungar said. "It's sad that this happened, because the festival benefits nonprofit organizations and there now will be $1,000 less left for them."

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