Carving out creations: Jack-o’-lanterns light up arboretum October 19, 2013 


    What: Pumpkin Festival

    Where: Penn State Arboretum’s H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, at the corner of Bigler Road and Park Avenue

    When: 4 p.m. to dusk Saturday. Cleanup and ribbon pickup on Sunday.

    Jack-o’-lantern display: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday

    Awards: Jack-o’-lanterns and ribbons may be picked up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

    Admission/parking: Free.

    On the web:

  • And the winners are ...

    Best in show: Lukena Petrunina, 9.

    Best traditional pumpkin: Quinn Williams, 12

    Best Arboretum-themed pumpkin: Rich Hirsh, a garden volunteer at The Arboretum

    Best Penn State theme pumpkin: Amy Italia

    Ages 2-4

    First place: Korben Truitt

    Second place: Jed McDonald

    Third place: Zade Christensen

    Ages 5-7

    First Place: Keira Drohan

    Second place: Aiysha Watson

    Third place: Zach Spicer

    Ages 8-10

    First place: Gannon Brungard

    Second place: Michael Cremer

    Third place: Anna Witmer

    Ages 11-13

    First place: Stacy Cremer.

    Second place: Patrick Lyons

    Third place: Erin Lutz


    First place: Gabe Avillion

    Second place: Amanda Clark

    Third place: Miranda Chen

    Penn State student category

    First place: Han-Wei Shih.

    Second place: John Luettgen

    Third place: Amanda Weaver

    Adult category

    First place: Leslie Ratan

    Second place: Michele Lutz.

    Third place: Rodney Campbell

— Adalynne McCord ran up and down the rows of carved pumpkins Friday night at the Penn State Arboretum’s H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens while she “oohed” and “aahed.”

Some pumpkins were carved with tradition jack-o’lantern faces, while others were sculpted like a pirate, Batman, and had a logo of a saint, the Nittany Lion, Pittsburgh penguin, and more.

“Look, Mommy, the pumpkins are on fire,” Adalynne, 5, said to her mother Carrie McCord. “They look so pretty.”

A record 443 pumpkins were on display for the third annual Pumpkin Festival, said Shari Edelson, director of horticulture at The Arboretum. The garden shone brightly during the pumpkin lighting ceremony, which drew about 2,000 people.

The festival will continue Saturday with activities such as live entertainment, refreshments, and corn husk doll and scarecrow making.

On Friday, a panel of judges voted on the best pumpkins.

“They’re all so creative,” said judge Elizabeth Goreham, State College’s mayor. “We’re really looking for creativity and originality, and something that represents Halloween and the fall season.”

Nine-year-old Lukena Petrunina won the Best in Show award as two dozen others were awarded ribbons in seven categories. Winners will be able to pick up their pumpkins and ribbons on Sunday.

Lukena’s pumpkin was tilted so the stem acted as the nose on the face of the jack’o’-lantern, which had slanted eyes and ears that stuck out made from the remnants of the pumpkin.

“We evaluate all the pumpkins and try to give a good representation to those we think are the best,” said Patrick Williams, director of development at The Arboretum.

The Christensen family moved to State College this year from Arizona. Dane Christensen said this was a nice way to bring the family together and have some fun.

His son Zade, 3, and daughter Aria, 5, both entered the contest this year. Zane won third-place in his category as he carved a monster face on his pumpkin.

“It’s a good way to spend some time together and get the kids motivated,” Dane Christensen said.

The festival is able to continue each year with the financial help of the Vargo family, Edelson said.

“We like to think of The Arboretum as an open space to the public and that it transcends the university and brings the community together to celebrate,” Edelson said.


Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @ M11azzo.

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