STOCKBRIDGE — COVID-19 can't scare away all the fun.
The Incredible Naumkeag Pumpkin Show returns Oct. 1 with more jack-o'-lanterns, more lights and more fun.
About 1,500 jack-o'-lanterns, a combination of artificial and real pumpkins, once again will light up Naumkeag's wooded trails and landscaped garden paths, every Wednesday through Sunday during October, culminating on Halloween.
A limited number of tickets for the family-friendly event go on sale at noon Friday at tinyurl.com/naumkeag-pumpkin-show. Pre-purchased, reservation-based tickets are required. No tickets will be sold on-site. In accordance with state pandemic regulations, only 50 people — guests and staff combined — will be allowed on the grounds at one time.
"It's definitely happening. We're up to our eyeballs in pumpkins," said Brian Cruey, Southern Berkshire director for The Trustees of Reservations, during a phone interview with The Eagle. "People will want to buy their tickets early, as I imagine we'll sell out fast."
Even though tickets will be limited in number this year, he said those who do visit the Gilded Age estate and public gardens will see an event that is "bigger, better, and more memorable in 2020."
"We're going to have double the pumpkins, new attractions and new lights," Cruey said. "We're building on the show we started last year. Our goal is to get bigger and better each year. Even though COVID-19 is limiting us in some ways, we're still going to honor our promise."
The advance-purchase tickets will allow visitors one trip around the well-lit paths, decked out in carved pumpkins and lights.
In addition to the display of jack-o'-lanterns, visitors will be able to enjoy snacks at the concession stand, participate in a scavenger hunt for kids, and have the option to pre-purchase a pumpkin to take home.
Guests will be required to wear masks while they are on the property, practice social distancing, follow a one-way path and limit their visit to one hour in order to ensure as many people as possible get to experience the show.
Due to state regulations, several of last year's events or attractions will not be offered, including the popular swirling "vortex" of light at the end of the pumpkin trail, Live Action Clue, the popular haunted house or critter trail. Those events and programs are expected to return next year.