Brushes and carving tools in hand, the children at the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster quickly had orange pulp and paint all over the art room Thursday afternoon.
“Today we’re carving a pumpkin,” said 11-year-old Lily Easter.
“And carving a B, G, C, W on it,” added Sofia Tsukervanik, also 11. “Watch your fingers!”
The pair were putting the finishing touches on just one of seven 100-pound pumpkins being carved by children at the Boys & Girls Club as part of a first-of-its-kind fundraiser for the Carroll Hospital Auxiliary. The seven pumpkins carved by club children will join more than 20 others from businesses and community members in a contest Saturday and Sunday at Local Homestead Products in New Windsor, where the public will pick their favorite carvings.
“Our children are so excited to participate in a pumpkin carving contest. It’s the first annual and the hospital auxiliary and local homestead products have joined forces together,” said Amy Moorman, program director for the Boys & Girls Club. “We are thrilled to be a part of this. We have wonderful partners and wonderful children.”
The children’s pumpkins, along with the others in the contest, will be on display in the greenhouse at Local Homestead Products, 2425 Marston Road, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, according to Amy Yingling, co-chair for the Carroll Hospital Auxiliary Outside Venture Committee.
“We will choose the winner on Sunday at 3 p.m. based upon community votes,” she said. “We will sell tickets — 10 tickets for $5 — for people to go around and vote on their favorite pumpkins.”
At 4 p.m. there will be crowned the first “Grand Gourd,” according to Yingling, along with a first-, second- and third-place pumpkin as well. The business crowned Grand Gourd will receive an award that will go from business to business year after year, she said.
“All of the funds will go toward the expansion of the Carroll Hospital Birthing Center,” Yingling said. “It’s a great cause — it’s for the babies!”
The voting takes place during Local Homestead Products Fall Fest weekend, and there will be a wide array of family events for those who turn out, according to co-owner Victoria Hoff.
“We have pick your own pumpkins with a wagon ride out to the field, we have a corn maze and a whole playground area that is free for admission,” Hoff said. “We will also have Smoking Swing food truck and a few other food vendors [and] Furnace Hills Coffee.”
Most of the activities will be free with the exception of the pumpkin contest voting and the corn maze, according to Hoff.
The idea of the pumpkin carving contest came to Yingling while she was traveling in Kentucky and saw a similar, if somewhat larger, competition there.
“They have 5,000 pumpkins on display. This is a much smaller version of that, but hopefully with the potential to grow,” she said. “This year we have 33 business owners and community partners who have carved pumpkins, as well as those in the community who carved pumpkins as well.”
Whether you vote on the pumpkins, come out to Local Homestead Products or not, Hoff said she hopes people will consider local farms and vendors for their fall gourd needs this season.
“Our biggest thing is to just shop local instead of going to a big box store to buy a pumpkin,” she said. “There is a lot of fun to be had when picking out a pumpkin and local is the way to go.”