A good plan will make a great pumpkin.
That's the carving advice from Michelle Brunner, adviser to the Perrysburg High School Art Club. Club members were on hand Saturday afternoon at Hood Park in Perrysburg to help folks saw, slice, and scoop their way through a few hundred of the festive fall squash as part of the first OctoBOOfest presented by Downtown Perrysburg Inc.
"Have some kind of plan before you start," Ms. Brunner said, adding that the right tools also are important.
Tables were spread with sketch paper, tracing patterns, large-tooth serrated knives, plastic scoops, and ceramic shavers. Festival-goers selected a pumpkin from a nearby pile, cut out a face or shape, and placed the jack-o-lanterns around the Commodore Perry monument in the park.
Whether the traditional toothy grin or a spooky landscape scene, carving can be a work of art indeed.
"With pumpkins, because they're very messy, you have to have craftsmanship," said Matt Corbett, a senior at Perrysburg High School and president of the Art Club.
He employed an extra measure of craftsmanship in creating life-size wooden cutouts that were set up in the Fall Fest Street Fair at the intersection of Louisiana Avenue and East Second Street.
Along with Don Griffith, a PHS ceramics teacher, Matt made a cat, scarecrow, Dracula, and Bavarian dancer cutouts through which children and adults could poke their faces for pictures.
"It feels good to be providing for the community," Matt said.
The pumpkins themselves were provided, some from Home Depot and some from community members who just want to make sure everyone has a good time.
"The kids love it," said Jake Bernard, of Perrysburg, who trucked out to Sadowski's Produce in Swanton and collected pumpkins to donate to Toth Elementary School, Grace United Methodist Preschool, and OctoBOOfest.
He had a few young farm hands to help, including his children, Josie and Jaegar, and Cora Pearson, granddaughter to Jim Hodulik who helped begin the free carving activity downtown three years ago.
Mr. Hodulik, who owns Stella's and Swig restaurants on Louisiana, said American Rental owner Larry Hutson and financial planner Mike Liebenthal were the other pumpkin pioneers, and that Eddie DeMartino and wife Helen are now also contributors.
"I just love the downtown. ... You have to make things happen," Mr. Hodulik said.
The make-it-happen group also provided 250 candy apples, 250 bags of popcorn, and 12 gallons of hot chocolate. American Rental provided the carving tables.
Downtown Perrysburg Inc. will light candles inside the pumpkins around the statue each evening through Halloween.
The glowing creations include faces of all kinds, cats and spiders, and even an Old English font "D" logo for the Detroit Tigers baseball team, signed by Ian Hammitt.
"Next year I'm sure it will be bigger and better," Mr. Hodulik said.
Contact Rebecca Conklin Kleiboemer at email@example.com or 419-356-8786.