Lisa W. Foderaro writes in today‘s NY Times (here) about several elaborate carved-pumpkin events in and around New York City. Her article caught my eye because yesterday Suzanne and Erik took their baby dragon and Erik’s mother, sister, niece, nephews (in costume), yours truly and my husband to something pretty dramatic along those lines. In Providence.
As I was reading Foderaro and feeling competitive with New York, this bit in the story jumped out:
“Two carvers, Ray Villafane and Andy Bergholtz, who developed a national following on the Food Network’s ‘Halloween Wars’ show, were at the [New York Botanical] Garden in mid-October, using six-inch rinds of Atlantic Giant pumpkins to sculpture the zombie, whose organs and intestines poke through his cracked ribs. Their assistants were busy harvesting chunks of pumpkin with handsaws and, for the zombie’s jeans, steaming pumpkin rinds.
“Mr. Villafane, a commercial sculptor who has made a year-round business out of carving pumpkins, said … his one disappointment this year was that the official ‘all-time biggest pumpkin,’ the first to weigh more than a ton, did not make it to the Bronx, as was planned. The 2,009-pound specimen, grown by Ron Wallace in Coventry, R.I., ran into trouble.
“ ‘It sprang a leak and rotted on the way,’ Mr. Villafane said. ‘We wanted to carve the world-record holder, so that was sad.’ “
Well, excu-use me! A Rhode Island monster pumpkin should have gone to the Roger Williams Zoo’s Spectacular, which was way better than anything the Times described. I’m afraid that Mr. Villafone tempted fate. Clearly a curse struck that giant pumpkin when it crossed the border.
The Roger Williams Zoo Spectacular lasts the whole month of October, involves 25 carvers carving 25,000 pumpkins (replaced as they decay), and many fun themes (with piped-in music). We wandered from “Star Wars” to Beatles to “Gone with the Wind” to “The Wizard of Oz” and on and on. I was as amazed as the relatives visiting from Sweden.
The idea of 25 people carving pumpkins for a month is in itself amazing to ponder. How much do pumpkin carvers get paid? What work do they have during the other 11 months? Are any from Rhode Island School of Design?
The Spectacular would have been a bit scary for the youngest among us, I think, but he was jet-lagged and zonked out in the stroller. A buffet before the walk around the lake was super and got us in early, in front of incredibly long lines. Read more about it all here.
Photograph by Suzanne, Luna & Stella