The buzz and smell is in the air. It's a time that fans wait for throughout the spring and the summer. Finally, it returns.
No, not football seasons. It's the return of pumpkin season.
From pumpkin patches, to pumpkin spice lattes, to even a deep fried pumpkin spice latte, (yeah, it's a thing) it's the time of the year where everyone goes pumpkin crazy.
Funck's Restaurant, located at 664 W. Main Street in Palmyra, is joining the fun, as they are bringing the pumpkin craze to their restaurant with the "Pumpkin Wars" event from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10.
"It's to kick off the beginning of fall. The pumpkin craft beers are really popular, and last year we had about 20 on tap at one time," said owner Alan Funck. "They were good sellers. We thought we would do it a little different this year with an event where people can vote for their favorite to make it fun. We'll have some giveaway stuff from the breweries, too. It's a nice way to enter the pumpkin and fall season."
Funck and assistang general manager Chris Viozzi estimate that there will be 25-plus pumpkin beers on tap, which is up from the 20 last year. Along with the 25-plus pumpkin beers, the other half of the tap line will still feature the regular beers on tap, including around six Oktoberfest beers.
While Funck's expect the majority of the people coming in for the event to try the various pumpkin beers, they said that they do expect people to come in and dine casually, too.
"We'll have flights of beer with different pumpkin beers with four or eight beers if you want. Those will be available," Funck said. "It's basically just opening the doors and letting people come in to do whatever they want, whether it's get dinner, enjoy the pumpkin beers or just have a drink of their choice. At a lot of the events, people just like to come in and sample the beers."
It is the first year of the event, but showing the power of the pumpkin, it's already received a bigger reaction online than other events that the restaurant has hosted in the past.
"On Facebook, we've had a huge reaction from people interested in the event. We were hoping for the reaction that we got, but it's been the most out of any event that we've ever done," explained Funck. "We've done Victory or Dogfish Head events before with their key beers on and representatives here, but we've already had more activity for this than we did for those."
Viozzi and Funck didn't have an expected number, but they do plan on having extra staff on hand due to the volume of people that have attended events in the past.
Along with shirts, keychains, bottle openers, hats and other items that the breweries will give the restaurant to give away, the big prize will be two VIP tickets to the Oktoberfest held at the Hollywood Casino in Grantville on October 4.
"It's free. If you're over 21, you just enter in your name and we'll pull for the tickets at the end of the night," said Viozzi. "It's two VIP tickets with access an hour earlier and all you can eat and drink with more than 30 breweries there."
The Pumpkin War event will feature pumpkin beers from all over, including Viozzi's favorite Jack-O Traveler by Elusive Traveler and Pumking by Southern Tier, which is Funck's favorite. Local brewery Spring House will also have their pumpkin beer Braaaiins! on tap.
"We'll keep the beers on until they kick. It depends on how fast they sell. Some of them we already have five or six kegs for the season," said Funck. "They are big sellers. There are several we will have on throughout November because they are big sellers. The others may just have a keg or two and that's it."
If this event goes as planned, could the restaurant host other seasonal beer-themed events?
"Maybe, but we haven't talked about it yet. I don't know if we can create as much interest for others," Funck said. "For some reason, the pumpkin beers create a lot of interest. I'm not sure if we could find another select thing that could match it."