In pumpkin patch fashion, annual festival will have a hay maze, scavenger hunt, petting zoo and free pumpkins for children 12 and younger.

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Aerophile staff members Thien Nguyen, left, and Matt Williams put the finishing touches on the Great Park jack-o’-lantern, which took flight Monday to mark the unofficial start of fall and to launch the countdown to the sixth annual Great Park Pumpkin Harvest, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Great Park’s signature orange balloon rose over Irvine on Monday, donning a jack-o’-lantern look to launch the countdown to the sixth annual Great Park Pumpkin Harvest from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 26.

In pumpkin patch fashion, there will be a hay maze, scavenger hunt, petting zoo and free pumpkins for children 12 and younger.

By the numbers

3: People required to put the face on the balloon

4: Hours it takes to complete the task

70: Feet that the boom lift extends

Source: Orange County Great Park Corp.

The event also will kick off a food drive at the Great Park starting Oct. 26 and running through Nov. 24. Visitors are encouraged to bring canned or nonperishable food to the Sunday farmers market and the Great Park Visitors Center. The drive will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank and Orange County Food Bank.

Admission to the Great Park Pumpkin Harvest is free; parking is $10. The Great Park is at 6950 Marine Way off the I-5. For more information, visit ocgp.org.