• Featuring world renowned pumpkin carver Ray Villafane

    His carving skills are amazing!

Ray’s Carefree Story

World-Renowned Artist

In May of 2015, the Town of Carefree’s Marketing Director, Gina Kaegi, was looking to hire a pumpkin carver to enhance a new fall festival for the Town. What she ended up discovering from her search was so much more.

Once Ray arrived, he fell in love with the Carefree Desert Gardens and his imagination started to run wild with ideas. He had been thinking about possibly finding a place  in Arizona and be close with his kids for the first time in 10 years instead of traveling all over the world.

The Gardens were being seen as a perfect organic environment for creativity and the potential to build a sustainable exhibit for families and children. In less than 2 weeks, the Mayor and Council decided that Ray was a perfect fit and Carefree’s Enchanted Pumpkin Garden was born.

The Town is honored to have been chosen by Ray to make his artistic dreams a reality in the Carefree Desert Gardens and to help share this one-of-a-kind exhibit with the residents, the state of Arizona and the world this October.

Ray envisions a book, gallery and many more additions to the Gardens for years to come and hopes you share in our excitement. 2016 will be our event’s second year and we hope you make it a tradition in your family to come enjoy for years to come!

To learn more about Ray, visit his website.

To learn more about the Town of Carefree, click here.

Ray’s Pumpkin Trivia


Pumpkins carved


Years he’s been carving


Largest pumpkin carved (in pounds)


Cities he’s carved in

Ray’s Skilled Carving Team

Chris Vierra

Chris Vierra was born in Providence Rhode Island. Chris is a bit of a daredevil. Up until the age of 26, He had performed across country as a bmx stunt man. His obsession with ninjas, and his high-flying bmx acrobatics earned him the nickname “Ninja Chris”.

Since a very young age, Chris attended comic book and toy conventions with his family. He always had a love for art, and video games. After seeing a hand sculpted prototype statue of one of his favorite characters online, Chris switched gears and decided to pursue his passion for sculpture. He began to research how toys and collectible statues were made.

With no formal art training, he picked up a brick of clay and a few tools and uncovered a natural ability to translate forms into the 3d world. Fast-forward a few years and Chris turned his passion into a career. Sculpting for such clients as Neca, DC comics, Hollywood Collectibles Group and many others.

Nikolay Torkhov

Nikolay Torkhov lives in the countryside of Moscow, Russia. All his life he has spent studying academic sculpture. In 2012, he graduated from the Moscow State Academic Art Institute (Russian Academy of Arts).

Originally starting out in street art, he evolved into being a sought after professional sculptor. His second love is horses and his gift of sculpting shows in his meticulous creation of a horse made of Manzanita wood at the Carefree 2016 exhibit. He prefers working and playing with sand, ice and pumpkins but will sculpt just about anything. He says that ice and pumpkins have their own charm due to their short lived life and that’s ok with him.

Nikolay met Ray at a sand competition and Ray was impressed with his abilities and decided Nikolay could represent Villafane Studios. They’ve been friends and a team ever since.

2017 Halloween Activities

Family Carving Nights
Adopt a Pumpkin
Craft Beer Garden
Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest
Picasso Arts and Crafts
Face Painting

“Each carving, more improbable than the next. Each creation challenging what is pumpkin-ly possible.”

Steve Hartman
Steve HartmanCBS: Assignment America

“Ray Villafane is the Michelangelo of pumpkin carving.”

Martha Stewart
Martha StewartMartha Stewart Living

At the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden, Ray had over 100 carved characters, artfully imagined and frolicking in their magical villages created in the Carefree Desert Gardens. Every carving is a model of skillful talent and playful imagination.

Ray’s Client List

He’s carved pumpkins and entertained people all over the world.

Pumpkin Videos

Have questions? Call the Town of Carefree 480.488.3686 or send us an email inquiry.

Town of Carefree’s
Enchanted Pumpkin Garden

October 20 – October 29, 2017
101 Easy Street, Carefree AZ 85377

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