October 23 2012
It's a sure sign that Halloween is right around the corner when the "dancing ghosts" decorations appear on the corners of Humboldt Park in Bay View.
For kids and adults alike, it's also a sign that it's time to turn pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns for the 5th Annual Pumpkin Pavilion and Festival. Each year for the last five years, Bill Rouleau and friends put in hours and hours of volunteer time to set up for this festival.
It all begins with the delivery of hundreds of pumpkins from Racine farmer, Ken Swan. They are carved over a two-night period: Wednesday at Club Garibaldi and Thursday at the Pavilion in Humboldt Park. Volunteers cut the tops, scoop out the insides and get the pumpkins cleaned for families to carve. New this year, The Spice House is donating spices to the Odd Duck as they volunteer their time to roast the seeds which will be sold at the festival. Each kid who carves a pumpkin gets their name throw in a hat, with the exciting chance win the honor of being the "Grand Lighter" of the pumpkins on Friday night in the park.
The Pumpkin Pavilion festival has something for the whole family: live music, games, food, hay rides and robots.
Each year when the weekend is over, people are encouraged to stop by and pick up as many jack-o-lanters as they can carry. Some people even use them to decorate their houses for Bay View's night time trick or treating. All the pumpkins that are left over (along with the scooped out insides) are donated to Kompost Kids.
More information about Bay View's Pumpkin Pavilion and Festival can be found at the Bay View Neighborhood Associations's web site.
*Photos of kids and pumpkins courtesy of Corey Hengen Photography