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Here's Why We Had To Change Locations in Southern California
(and why it's a good thing!)

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August 16, 2016
To Our Friends in Southern California!

After our last email two weeks ago, we received a number of inquiries about our Southern California locations for 2016.

Yes, it's true. The RISE will not be back at the same Southern California locations as last year. But before all of you ghosts say "boo" please put down your carving knives and you'll see that we didn't have much choice. Then, I'll show you why these location changes are actually going to be really good things for your experience at The RISE this year.

Why are we not back at Descanso Gardens, Santa Anita Park or San Diego Zoo Safari Park

All good pumpkins love dirt and I know you gourd lovers do too, so we figured we'd fill you in on why we had to move this year.

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The reality is, The RISE is an out-of-this-world experience for our visitors but behind the scenes there's a whole lot of real-world logistical challenges that take all year to plan. Carving a pumpkin is easy. Carving 5,000 (or 100,000 pounds worth) each weekend at multiple locations on both coasts, lighting them, managing hundreds of artists, getting enough people to come see the show, and getting it all to fit in a certain place is enough to turn good people into witches and gobblins.

Even though we weren't able to return to the same locations as last year, we're just excited to be back in Southern California. Plus, we're confident that you'll find The RISE to be an even better experience this year than last year!

Descanso Gardens

We made our debut at Descanso Gardens in 2014. Descanso has been a great partner for us. The staff at Descanso are fantastic and their beautiful setting was an awesome backdrop for our carves.

This year, Descanso is hosting a winter-season light show called Enchanted (it looks cool too). The bummer is that the setup for it needed to begin in October and we weren't able to schedule around it. Perhaps one day we can make it back to Descanso, but this year we were forced to make other plans.

We got the news of this last November. It was tough hearing it because we have a number of year-round full-time artists and support staff who have been relying on our event's success at Descanso since the beginning.

Luckily, the good folks downtown at the LA Convention Center decided to take a leap of faith on us. It took some convincing at first (you want to bring 100,000 pounds of what in here?).

View Images to see what we're working on!

Now that we've spent the entire "off-season" planning The RISE for Downtown LA at the Convention Center and for Fairplex in Pomona, we're more convinced than ever that this is going to be a really good move for The RISE and for our visitors as you'll see.

Will The RISE be as good indoors this year as it was outdoors last year?

If you're wondering if The RISE is going to be as good this year indoors at the Convention Center (or at Fairplex) as it has been outdoors at Descanso, read more below. The short answer is YES because there are so many more cool things we can do indoors without having to grapple with the light and heat outdoors. Going indoors actually gives us a few advantages and will allow us to pull off and even better experience than last year!

Well Worth The Trip Downtown

We know that moving The RISE from Descanso to Downtown may be less convenient for some of our visitors. Don't lose your pumpkin guts! The Convention Center is only a few miles south of Descanso! Plus, there's a lot more parking at the Convention Center, it's easier to get in and out of, and there are lot more activities and restaurants in the area which will only add to your day of fun!

If you're still concerned about it being less convenient, check out our dates and times and you'll see that you can now enjoy The RISE at even more convenient times! By switching to indoor locations, we can now offer more people the chance to come see The RISE at more convenient times of the day.

Back to the dirt...

Santa Anita Park

The RISE came to Santa Anita Park in 2015 because we were running out of room at Descanso Gardens the year prior. We had a great time at Santa Anita and the staff there were phenomenal to work with.

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There were two issues that made it difficult for us to return to Santa Anita. The first was the heat. On our opening day we put a surface thermometer on the ground and it broke after reaching 140 degrees.  Getting all 5,000 pumpkins to last all weekend in that heat was nearly impossible.

The main issue that caused us not to return to Santa Anita this year was scheduling. This year, the Breeders Cup is happening soon after Halloween and we wouldn't have had enough time, following the event, to pack up our show. You can imagine that all of our scenes, electrical, lights, and of course 5,000 pumpkins takes a lot of time and work to clean up.

For these two reasons, we concluded that we were not able to deliver our amazing jack o'experience this year at Santa Anita.

Instead, we decided to move over to Fairplex in Pomona which has an indoor space big enough to fit The RISE. At Fairplex, not only are we able to deliver you our normal RISE experience, but we're able to deliver you an even better experience this year as we take advantage of all of the benefits that are now possible at Fairplex.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Not having The RISE back at San Diego Zoo Safari Park was a very tough call for us. First off, the staff who work there are nothing short of amazing. They were such a big help in pulling The RISE off last year. Plus, the setting was amazing. The trees, the path, the convenient parking and facilities, etc., were top notch.

We would go back to the Safari Park in a heartbeat. The problem was that we weren't able to get enough visitors there to be able to pay for the show. Being about an hour from downtown San Diego was part of the issue. Folks who know The RISE have no problem traveling that far to see us because they know it's worth it. It just proved too tricky getting enough RISE newbies to join us. We're pretty sure we'd get higher attendance this year but we were not sure we'd get enough visitors in total in order to pay for the cost of the show.

So there you go. That's why we had to move our locations this year. By now we hope you've put down your pitchforks and you're ready to see that these moves are actually going to be really good things for your experience at The RISE this year. Like I've been saying, by moving The RISE indoors, we're actually able to deliver a better experience this year!

Why The RISE Will be Even Better This Year!

So now you know why we had to move our locations for 2016. Here's why it's actually going to be a good thing! After spending the last 11 months planning this year's show, we're more convinced than ever that this year will be even better than last year!

1. No Sun & Heat Means Better and More Carvings!

Yes, we know. Bringing The RISE indoors is a BIG change. You're used to seeing our work carved under the bright moonlight. But being outside has its limitations, especially in Southern California. For one, it's hot. Pumpkins and heat don't mix. Outdoors, our precious carvlings meet their doom after only a few hours. Indoors they'll last a whole lot longer living out their days in the AC and sipping warm apple cider.

Indoors will allow us to carve mid-week and those carves will still be around for our visitors on Sunday! This also means we can spend more time doing more intricate carves. In fact, we're planning on quadrupling the number of intricately carved 100 pound jacks for this year! Oh, and if you went to Descanso in 2014 and saw the 60 character carves, we're bringing those back too (and adding another 40ish!).

2. Ambiance will be WAY better!

Amazingly carved jack o'lanterns are one reason why The RISE is so loved by our visitors. Another is the ambiance. Seeing our jack o'lanterns lit up in a beautiful setting is a key part of our experience.

The gardens at Descanso were a great backdrop last year. The backdrop at Santa Anita was challenging because there weren't natural features available like at Descanso. You might think ambiance may be a problem this year as we go indoors. It's actually not a problem, it's a huge benefit!

The reason why is because indoors we can add a number of features to set the scene and we don't have to worry about the effects of sun, heat, wind, rain, etc. We're going to make sure it's cool inside so it feels like a fall day in the Northeast. We're adding a number of awesome photo-op features. We're adding more music and sound effects.

Also, we'll have way more space at both the Convention Center and at Fairplex so The RISE won't feel as crowded! That means more time to gander at jacks!

3. More Convenient Times

The biggest issue we've had over the years is making tickets available for the most convenient dates and times for our visitors. Most of our visitors want to come as early as possible. We haven't been able to offer enough early timeslots when we were outdoors because we've had to start when the sun goes down.

This year is way different! Now that we're indoors, we can turn out the lights and light up the jacks at all hours of the day! That means we'll be able to have ticket times during daylight hours! We're already starting to see our daytime tickets selling fast so have a look at what dates and times are remaining.


4. Lower Ticket Prices

The cost to pull off The RISE is enormous. Last year, we spent over $1.2 Million per location. We need to get a lot of visitors to attend in order to meet our expenses. Part of the huge cost last year was having to re-carve constantly due to heat and sun. This year a lot of that cost goes away so we're able to keep prices low and actually increase the number of discount tickets available.

This year, The RISE is more affordable for more people!

5. More Convenient Locations

Now that we're downtown and in Pomona, we can bring The RISE to closer to more people. Plus, it's now more convenient to get to The RISE via mass transit!

6. More Recognizable Content

This year we took a lot of time sorting out what we plan on carving up for you. We think we have an amazing line-up and subject matter that's going to appeal to everyone at any age. Come see The RISE and see some of your favorite and most recognizable characters. It's going to be a great year!

There you have it. We had to make these location changes in 2016 but we're really excited about the benefits you'll see this year. Thanks for your support. We look forward to seeing you at The RISE this year!

Mike Pollock
Founder and Executive Producer
RISE of the Jack O'Lanterns
Click here to see remaining discount tickets still available.

See what's new for 2016!
2016 Locations! Click for Dates & Times!
2016 Locations

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We look forward to seeing you at RISE of the Jack O'Lanterns!
The RISE Team - TheRISE.org

Tickets are available on a first-come first-served basis. There are limited number of tickets available per time-slot. Discount tickets are limited and vary from 5% off to 50% off (or more) under this promotion. Please check our website for discount ticket availability. Content of carvings may vary by event location and date.