The pumpkin patch of Hello Kitty

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From pumpkin patches to corn mazes, October is filled with seasonal festivities.  But this year, visitors at Irvine’s Tanaka Farms can expect more than typical fall events with the introduction of Hello Kitty and Friends.

Beginning Sept. 30, Hello Kitty, Keroppi, Chococat, My Melody and Pochacco have been making appearances as educational ambassadors and joining in on the autumn fun at the pumpkin patch. Along with the sea of pumpkins perfect for photo ops and jack-o’-lantern picking, featured activities include wagon rides, a petting zoo, a corn maze and a u-pick vegetable garden. Other attractions available on the weekends included ATV rides, face-painting and arts-and-crafts. Sanrio fans can also purchase limited edition Sanrio-Tanaka Farms merchandise at the farm.

“Although we went on a 96-degree day, the Sanrio and Tanaka Farms collaboration Pumpkin Patch truly brought a rare smile to our faces in the midst of college application season. I love pumpkin patches and this one was exceptionally cute with Sanrio characters everywhere!” senior Michelle Lin said.

Hello Kitty and Friends is a result of a yearlong partnership between Tanaka Farms and Sanrio Inc. with the goal of educating the community on sustainability, healthy eating and agriculture in an unique and exciting way. The collaboration between the two companies is a part of Sanrio’s community outreach initiative, according the company.

“The Hello Kitty theme added a cute aspect to a typically spooky holiday and was a great throwback to my childhood,” junior Ashley Shim said.

Sanrio is the Japan-based company best known for creating Hello Kitty, a cartoon character that was introduced to the United States in the 1970s and has since expanded into a well-known children’s character around the world.

Tanaka Farms is a fully-functional 30-acre family-owned farm established by Japanese-American farmers in 1940 and has become a popular community farm, producing organic fruits and vegetables. Their Sanrio feature is the second Hello Kitty themed business in Irvine; in 2016, Sanrio opened a Hello Kitty pop-up cafe in Irvine Spectrum, selling pastries and beverages.

If you missed Hello Kitty and her friends this Halloween, don’t fret, as visitors can expect the characters to return.  Future seasons will include Tanaka Farm’s Christmas Tree Farm, spring strawberry picking events and summer melon picking events.