Parade of Pumpkins raising awareness for genetic syndrome

Master Carver, Aaron Reimschiissel, will be featured this year at the Parade of Pumpkins. (Photo courtesy of Fragile X Association of Utah.)
Master carver Aaron Reimschiissel will be featured this year at the Parade of Pumpkins. (Photo courtesy Fragile X Association of Utah)

Fall is already here, and signs of the season are everywhere. Fall festivities have commenced, and organizations are beginning to incorporate fall themes to draw crowds.

The second annual Parade of Pumpkins, held by the Fragile X Association of Utah, is returning to Utah County this fall on Oct. 18–19 to raise awareness and funds for a genetic syndrome that often goes undiagnosed.

Rachael Gibson, president of the Fragile X Association of Utah, said the Parade of Pumpkins is an event to bring families in the community together and provide information about this inherited mental impairment, Fragile X syndrome.

Fragile X syndrome is a genetic syndrome linked with the X chromosome. This syndrome, mostly found in boys, is the most dominant single-gene cause for autism in children.

Gibson said the purpose of the event is to raise money to send representatives to national conferences. Gibson also wants to lobby in D.C. for more research on the syndrome.

“This year is going to be bigger and better,” Gibson said. “We would love to have some BYU students participate.”

Gibson has three children with the syndrome and said the Fragile X Association has been a huge support for her and her family and wants the Utah chapter to grow.

“We aren’t very big yet, but we try to let everybody know that we are here and there is support out there, so they can come to us for support, help and answers,” Gibson said.

Last year, the Parade of Pumpkins included about 50 pumpkins and other Halloween displays that were available for auction. This year, haunted gingerbread houses will be up for bid. All funds will go to sending representatives to national conferences and to lobby for research funds.

Expertly carved pumpkins will be available for auction this year at the Parade of Pumpkins, and all the proceeds go to the Fragile X Association of Utah. (Photo courtesy Fragile X Association of Utah)

Jordan Hattaway, a social science teaching major, said she is looking forward to going to the event because she sees it as a worthy cause.

“I have a chronic disease, so I know how important funding is for research and treatments to prevent suffering,” Hattaway said.

Kirsten Reimschiissel Fowler, from Orem, said she has been involved with the association for years and hopes the Parade of Pumpkins can help the community come together and support families affected by the syndrome.

“The purpose of the event is for bringing people together who have Fragile X syndrome and others who want to know more about it,” Fowler said. “It’s the number-one cause of autism, but there are a lot of people that don’t know about it.”

The Parade of Pumpkins will be held on Oct. 18, from 5 to 9 p.m., and Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., at the Old Pleasant Grove Recreation Center. For more information, or to register for participation at the event, visit

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