Pumpkin Carve kicks off with a windy blast

Pumpkin carvers sawed, knifed and chiseled into their 120- to 215-pound pumpkins for Chadds Ford Historical Society’s annual Pumpkin Carve. They jumped into the task of dredging their pumpkins as soon as check-in began using butcher knives, drywall saws, hammers, chisels and X-Acto knives.

“It just keeps getting bigger every year,” says Jen Manderscheid, the event’s chairperson. “We expect 3,000 to 5,000 people each night, mainly from the tri-state area, but we’ve had people from New York and even Virginia for the event.” The carving took place on Thursday night and the finished and prize-winning pumpkins will be on display on Friday and Saturday, as well as carving demonstrations by Chuck Feld.

“Jen has been the chairperson for the past ten years and is the reason this event is the success it is,” said Jason Greenplate, executive director of the Chadds Ford Historical Society. Manderscheid is one of 60 volunteers who work the event. Proceeds from the Pumpkin Carve support the care and maintenance of the Historical Society’s buildings – the Barn Visitor Center, the John Chads House, the Old Schoolhouse and the Barns-Briton House.

Carvers don’t know what their pumpkin will be like until they arrive and find their number. Numbers are assigned by receipt of entry forms.

“We came ready to adapt as needed to the size and shape of the pumpkin,” said Chadds Ford Supervisor Samantha Reiner. Partnered with fellow supervisors Frank Murphy, Noelle Barbone and township manager Maryann Furlong, they started etching the township shape and logo onto their pumpkin. Ready for anything, including the strong wind, Reiner added, “This is not our first rodeo.”

Jeff Brown displays the model for his creation.

Adding to the challenge Thursday night was wind. It challenged the carvers to find clever ways to light their pumpkins, including using LEDs and devising windshields for their candles.

Many entrants had a long history of participating in this event, while others, like Hope Slomich, whose goal is to sculpt Abe Lincoln onto her pumpkin, were first-time entrants. “I come here every year and always wanted to give it a shot.”

“Our family has two pumpkins —one serious, one fun,” said Claire Siepser, whose family has participated for the past 20 years. A printmaker and book artist, she added, “Pumpkin is not my medium!”

Brown's octopus atop a pile of jack-o'-lanterns.

Food is plentiful at the event. The Concordville-Chadds Ford Rotary offers an extensive menu ranging from hot dogs, sausage, chili, and hamburgers to candy apples, cookies and cupcakes. As Rotarian Hank Fisher said, “Our motto is ‘service above self’.” These volunteers use the proceeds to support local scholarships, programs for kids and veterans.

The Meat House and Fletcher's Kitchen will be at the event and include pumpkin-themed offerings on their menu, and a food truck features edible cookie dough. Liquid refreshments include local craft beer and wine. There is also a Haunted Trail, hayrides, and live music.

Entry fee is $15 for adults and $5 for children 7-17, under 6 is free. The event continues Friday, Oct. 18, from 4-9 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 19, from 3-9 p.m. Further information is available online at http://www.chaddsfordhistory.org/events-programs/great-pumpkin-carve/.

 

About Karen Myers

Karen Myers lives in Pocopson Township and has written for several local publications. A strong supporter of our community, Karen has served on several non-profit boards, such as Pocopson Elementary PTO, The United Way of Southern Chester County, Chester County Art Association and Tick Tock Early Learning Center. She received her M.B.A. from the University of Delaware and worked in marketing and operations with a focus on banking.

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