Pumpkin carving for a cause is a brilliant Idea. Where did she come up with it?
On September 27-29 at the Westminster, Maryland Fall Festival, Carroll Hospital Auxiliary will be holding the second annual Pumpkin Carving Contest to raise money for the expansion, renovation, and introduction of the couplet care model in the Family Birth Place at Carroll Hospital. They are projecting to raise over $6,000 a 300% increase from last year and doubled the number of pumpkin entries. My wife Amy Yingling heads the outside ventures subcommittee and has worked tirelessly along with many others to bring this idea to life. Where did this brilliant, highly lucrative, and community engaging idea come from?
It started in Louisville Kentucky on a brisk fall night four years ago. I was traveling for a work conference and my lovely wife decided to tag along. Amy is a hawk for activities, sitting still and watching TV is not in the deck of cards. Upon circulating the local establishments and a few bourbon cocktails later, we were chatting with another patron who mentioned a Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular about 20 minutes away. Amy responded with an enthusiastic “WOOAHHHH A JACK-O-LANTERN SPECTULAR” much like a group of 5-year-old soccer players learning they were heading to Hoffman’s Ice-cream after their Friday night win. Five minutes later we were in an Uber heading to Iroquois Park to witness the 1/3-mile 5,000 pumpkin art show. AND A SHOW IT WAS!!
Upon arriving we realized this was no ordinary pumpkin event, considering at midnight the line was over 1.5 hours long. Music, hot tea, and fireball shots were all available and enriched our conversation with patrons from all over the country.
The festival typically has 20 themes for the pumpkins, the beginning of time was the first, pumpkins included religious and scientific figures, including the Big Bang on a pumpkin!! A few other notable themes were The Beatles era which included portraits and of course a yellow submarine! Darth Vader, Millennium Flacon, and the light saber battle scene were on display for the Star Wars theme. Finally, we ended with the political theme which included pumpkin portraits of past, present and future political leaders, including Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Donald Trump.
This event is exciting, for two reasons. One, it has only scratched the surface. The Louisville event started as small festival to benefit a local elementary school and now attracts over 10,000 people from all over the country, Carving for a Cause has the potential to raise a lot of money for many worthy causes. Two, much like the Peepshow, it is different and has mass appeal. Who doesn’t like carved pumpkins? I have yet to meet that person! Congratulations to Amy Yingling, and The Carroll Hospital Auxiliary, you’re on to something!!!
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