Date: Oct 27, 2010

IRVINE (October 27, 2010) - Western Growers Foundation and Western Growers Director Craig Reade, partner at Bonipak Produce/Bonita Packing Company, are partnering with Righetti High School in Santa Maria to ensure more than 150 elementary school students are able to have a frightfully festive Halloween and a free locally-grown pumpkin.

For the 17th year in a row, Righetti’s Ornamental Horticulture students will be welcoming elementary pupils on campus, located at 941 E Foster Rd, Santa Maria, CA 93455-3399, where they host the annual festival. This year, students from Alice Shaw Elementary, Blochman Elementary, St. Andrews preschool and a few other smaller groups will be enjoying the treats and maybe even some tricks. The festival, which will begin at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow, will allow the younger students to both create ghoulish crafts and gain a better understanding of the community’s agricultural background as they will walk away with a pumpkin grown by the students, courtesy of Reade.

“I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Halloween,” said Western Growers Foundation Administrator Briana Lewis. “The high school students have worked hard planting, nurturing and harvesting these pumpkins, in partnership with Craig and Bonipak Produce, and now they are going to welcome the younger children on to their campus for a little seasonal fun. We are thrilled to have a small part in what is sure to be a great day.”

Western Growers Foundation, which helped fund Righetti’s garden in 2004, will be presenting Mr. Guillermo Guerra and his Ornamental Horticulture students with a surprise garden gift as the festival kicks off. The festival, which concludes at 11:30 a.m., will feature stations where children will be able to decorate creepy cookies and pumpkins and color pictures of ghosts and goblins. They will also be able to pot plants for Righetti’s garden and enjoy spine-chilling games like golf, sack races, darts and more.

Western Growers is an agricultural trade association whose members from Arizona and California grow, pack and ship ninety percent of the fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in California and seventy five percent of those commodities in Arizona. This totals about half of the nation’s fresh produce.

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