The Carve cometh anew

It’s the event that satisfies the Linus in all of us. So get your whittling tools, carving knives and all other means of pumpkin dismemberment together. It’s The Great Pumpkin Carve and it’s coming to the Pumpkin Patch at the Chadds Ford Historical Society on Oct. 22.

The annual event, steeped in local lore, is one of the two largest fundraising efforts for the society. Thousands of people will gather during a three-night period to ogle, gawk and just admire carvings that range from the simplest to the more ornate and difficult.

More than 60 carvers will begin whittling their way into a tradition that has seen the likes of Jimmy Lynch and Andy and Jamie Wyeth test their Halloween humor.

Pumpkin burger anyone?

Pumpkin burger anyone?

The Carve began more than 40 years ago on the porch of the former Chadds Ford Inn (now Brandywine Prime). As some tell the story, the event eventually had to find another venue because “the pumpkins were getting in the way of the drunks.”

Another story tells of a near accident when one young carver stepped back into Route 1 to get a wider perspective of his creation and was almost hit by a car. That artist, according to the lore, was Jamie Wyeth.

Now there are those who deny the tales as just that, tall tales, but that’s the nature of The Carve. While it might be a fundraising event, people go because it’s fun, as much fun as telling tall tales and kids dancing on hay bales.

What is true is that The Carve has gone from the old inn to Hank’s Place, to the Barn Shoppes to the Brandywine River Museum of Art and eventually to the Chadds Ford Historical Society in 1992.

Beginning at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22, carvers and carving teams will begin their task of turning large pieces of orange vegetable matter — some pumpkins weighing in at up to 400 pounds — into works of art that will last only until Sunday morning.

After the pumpkins are carved, they are lit with candles that add to festive atmosphere.

In the past few years, other attractions have evolved, such as a haunted walk along the side of the pumpkin patch.

It's just fun

It's just fun

There is also live music, hayrides, and raffles will be featured. Another tradition includes a shirt designed just for The carve. While the design itself can't be revealed, the designer this year is Chadds Ford resident Nicki Wandersee.

The event runs from 5-9 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22-24. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 7 to 17. It is free for Society members and kids 6 and under.

The Carve is co-sponsored by the Historical Society and the Concordville-Chadds Ford Rotary. The rotary will also be selling food.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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