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Camille’s pumpkin carving contest captures the macabre

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Cash prizes awarded to lucky winners

On Oct. 8, Camille’s Sidewalk Cafe held its third annual Pumpkin Carving Contest, and it began just like a typical Halloween story.

It was a cold, dark, and windy night at 306 S. Second St., and little ghouls and goblins gathered inside Camille’s to see if their hard work carving pumpkins would pay off.

This year, the age categories were split — 13-and-under, and 14-and-over, as well as People’s Choice. The first-place pumpkin-carving winner would take home $100; second would receive $75; third, $25; and Peoples Choice, $50.

Camille’s owner, James Rich, said events like this make Halloween an exciting holiday, full of anticipation.

“This is our third annual event,” Rich said. “It’s always fun to get a large crowd — certainly a lot of people enjoy it, something different. We started this downtown, and I’ve always liked the idea that we lead and not follow.”

Rich said more businesses are beginning to hold similar events.

Every imaginable carved-pumpkin creation was displayed for the public to see — from a creepy clown pumpkin; to an old-school pumpkin with “Boo” carved into its side; to BB8, the character from Star Wars, which was created from two pumpkins; among several other unique creations.

Eight-year-old Lillian Bowman and her father, Jacob Bowman, decided to enter the competition for the fun of it.

“This was my daughter’s first time,” Jacob said. “She picked out the characters Lilo and Stitch, so I drew out the design and she did the rest. It didn’t take long — about an hour and a half.”

While Lillian’s pumpkin didn’t place for a win, Jacob said it was fun, regardless.

As the wind howled outside, and the cold autumn air was chilled to the bone, curious onlookers inside Camille’s treated themselves to hot coffee and waited to hear who the lucky winners were. Everyone who attended the event had the opportunity to cast their vote for the winning pumpkin — and there were more than 20 to choose from.

The judging began at 7 pm, and the judges went up and down the tables to carefully observe the awesome creations.

Rich thanked folks for participating in the contest and wished everyone good luck. The results came in and the awards were given.

Taking first place in the 13-and-under category was No. 13, Isabelle King, and No. 16, Skylar Hubbard, won the 14-and-over prize. Both winners took home $100 for their Jack-o-lanterns.

The People’s Choice award went to No. 18, Leeah Long-Edwards, who took home $50.

Carolyn Stansberry, who counted out the score for the People’s Choice, said the decision was unanimous.

“I was just counting out the score for the PC, [but] the people are the ones who vote,” she said. “I was just doing the compiling of all the paperwork. It was hands-down for No. 18.”

Sage Enote took second place in the 14-and-over category.

“It’s just simply coming up with something very different and going with it,” Enote said. “I was looking through a magazine and I sort of got inspired by what people were doing in theirs, so I kinda went [with] that. It took me a couple days, just non-stop work. You just have think outside the box.”

In the end, the event was a good time, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. In fact, as the participants gathered up their pumpkins, there was talk of pumpkin-carving ideas for next year.

Rich said he hopes to bring the same excitement this coming Christmas with the Gingerbread House contest.

“It will be our fourth, and we like coming back to that, it creates a lot of creativity,” he said.

By Dee Velasco
Photos by Ryan Hudgeons
For the Sun