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The Legend Of The Frying Pan Road Pumpkin Fairy

Oct 25, 2019

Credit Molly Dove / Aspen Public Radio

No one knows when it started, but for about the last ten years, pumpkins mysteriously pop up every October along Frying Pan Road in Basalt. Some pumpkins are big, some small, some orange, some white, some are left high up on the rocks, others down in the river. 

It has become a yearly game of “I-Spy” for locals. Legend has it, all the pumpkins come from the Pumpkin Fairy. 

In the living room of the Mattice’s home off of the Frying Pan Road, Aksel and Sebastian sit on their dad Scott's lap on the couch guessing what the Pumpkin Fairy looks like. 

“I think she has wings and she’s all sparkly,” Aksel guesses. 

No one knows what the Pumpkin Fairy really looks like. Every year, the fairy puts out around 100 pumpkins all along the road without being caught. Not even by a Pitkin County Sheriff. 

Credit Molly Dove / Aspen Public Radio

“They’re pretty elusive,” the sheriff said. 

Aksel and Sebastian think the Pumpkin Fairy places all the pumpkins along the roadside in the middle of the night while everyone is sleeping, but are not quite sure how she carries all of them.

“Maybe with the back of a truck,” Sebastian thinks. “Or drops down a helicopter rope.” 

The mystery of the Pumpkin Fairy has become a yearly tradition for residents along the Frying Pan Road. 

Robin Waters lives on the road. She said in recent years, people became obsessed with posting pictures of all the pumpkins. 

“It’s a bit of magic for Basalt,” Waters said. 

Waters and her labradoodle Finnegan McCool spend the afternoon driving down the road towards Thomasville and Meredith, eyes peeled for any sight of orange. 

Finnegan McCool after a long day of pumpkin scouting down the Frying Pan Road.
Credit Molly Dove / Aspen Public Radio

She said the best part of the tradition is to get a car load of friends and family and see who can count the most pumpkins. 

“It’s kind of like one of those paintings where you have to find the image in the painting,” Waters said. “It’s wonderful.”

Though Waters points out it seems like a slow year, she says the Pumpkin Fairy must work very hard to go up and down the road and place every single pumpkin. 

“I think there’s a group of fairies,” she said. “I think it’s the kind of magic that spreads.”

By the end of the trip, Waters and Finnegan count 63 pumpkins. She said more pumpkins continue to pop up as Halloween approaches. 

And it’s all from the magic of the Pumpkin Fairy.

Credit Molly Dove / Aspen Public Radio