Dowagiac fest invites pumpkin decorators, carvers to competePublished 4:50pm Wednesday, September 26, 2012
As children, they were likely to have carved cute, diamond-eyed jack-o-lanterns with broad, brimming smiles.
Today’s baby boomers are pushing the limits of this time-honored tradition, turning pumpkins into organic, front-porch masterpieces.
This October, Under the Harvest Moon in downtown Dowagiac introduces a challenge to art enthusiasts and others, who can’t resist picking up a pumpkin and turning it into something scary, or in this case, just plain spectacular.
At the heart of Dowagiac’s autumn event, which returns to the central business district Oct. 13, will be a display of vintage farm tractors and an open-air marketplace of antiques. The festival will also feature fall produce, Michigan handmade products and delicacies, as well as street entertainment and family events.
Hosted by the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce, the one-day festival is being underwritten by The Pokagon Fund and corporate sponsors, which include Creative Vinyl Signs, Dr. Alan Montgomery, Kim MacGregor’s Office of Edward Jones, Forest Glen Assisted Living, Hale’s Hardware, Smoke Vision Care and Sustainable Recycling Inc.
Helen Moorman, owner of Frame of Mind Custom Framing & Art Gallery, is co-sponsoring the festival’s Pumpkin Carving and Decorating Contest.
Moorman said participants can either decorate or carve their pumpkins at home and submit their entries to the frame shop by 10 a.m. the day of the festival. Frame of Mind Custom Framing & Art Gallery is located in the downtown at 145 S. Front St. next to Underwood Shoes.
Judging will be held at noon, with entries remaining on display throughout the day. Participants can enter their pumpkin in either the carved or decorated category. A winner will be selected in each category and will receive a $25 Universal Dowagiac Gift Card from the Chamber of Commerce.
“Pumpkin carving has certainly evolved from the cute and plump pumpkins of our childhood, when pumpkin smiles often included a few missing teeth, to more lifelike sculptures and others that are elaborately decorated,” said Vickie Phillipson, program director for the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Authority.
In addition to Phillipson, festival organizers include Cheryl Sherman, owner of The Red Raven, and her daughters, Jessica and Gabby.
For those who need some inspiration, Moorman suggested consulting the Internet for carving and decorating tips and templates. For pumpkin enthusiasts who are art-challenged, Under the Harvest Moon also features the King of Jack O’Lantern Contest. Hosted by Curves, the plumpest pumpkin wins this competition. Entries should be submitted by 11 a.m. to Curves for display the day of the festival. The grower of the heaviest pumpkin will receive a $25 Universal Dowagiac Gift Card.
Festival events will also include: a caramel apple and cider bar, hosted by Caruso’s; horse-drawn wagon rides; a Mukluks trunk show at The Red Raven; a pumpkin bake-off hosted by Foodies Fresh Cafe & Catering; a corn hole tournament, hosted by Wounded Minnow Saloon; and food and clothing drives by ACTION and IICD.
Children can enter this year’s new Scarecrow Costume Contest and appear in the scarecrow parade that follows, which is hosted by The Red Raven. They’ll also enjoy: the take-home craft event at Who Knew? Consignment; fall games hosted by Dowagiac Fine Arts Boosters; the children’s party castle, hosted by Judd Lumber Co. and Fierce Dance Academy; extreme face painting by Robyn Ake; Bayside Farms’ display of miniature horses and donkeys; Turkey Creek’s display of alpacas; pumpkin decorating, hosted by MKSOD Dance; an ice cream eating contest hosted by Twistee’s; and the Halloween Hound Parade, hosted by Red Raven.
Street entertainment features performances by the Van Dyke Revue, singer and guitarist Mike Struwin, MKSOD and Fierce Dance Academy.
Festival goers will enjoy Smokin’ Good’s pulled pork and grilled chicken, Fat Boy’s kettle corn and elephant ears, an autumn dessert bar at Foodies Cafe and Caruso’s cinnamon ice cream topped with warm apples and caramel.
Owners of vintage farm tractors and vendors of antiques, fall produce, handmade products and baked goods, which would like to participate in the festival, can make arrangements to do so by calling the Chamber at (269) 782-8212. Booth rental for vendors selling merchandise is $20 for an approximate 10-foot booth.
For a full schedule of events, visit www.dowagiacchamber.com.
Tags: Under the Harvest Moon