Pumpkinfest: Plan B and the 5-year-old ‘superfan’

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 5:45pm

Damariscotta’s Deb Arter was all set to make an apple with a swimming noodle as a worm for her giant pumpkin creation this year. It would be less work than some things and she had family visiting.

“Then I got here and I said, ‘That’s not an apple.’”

So the Pumpkinfest veteran thought porcupine and finally hedgehog. Early Friday afternoon, she was about four hours into it. The resource room educational technician in the Boothbay schools makes at least one Pumpkinfest pumpkin into something every year. And she does it in style: Friday, she had green hair, jack-o-lantern antennae, orange and black striped legs and a tiered, Halloween-themed apron from a friend.

“Why wouldn’t you want to,” Arter said smiling about dressing in the seasonal spirit. The spines of the hedgehog’s coat were pieces of a windowshade she’d been going to discard. She planned glossy black ping pong ball eyes and ears of fabric and pipe cleaners. 

If you’re going to paint onto a pumpkin, seal it with a clear coat first, Arter advised. Otherwise, the moisture the pumpkin gives off will keep the paint from sticking, she explained.

“You’re drilling,” came a voice.

Evelyn Daniels-MacDonald, 5, started asking Arter about her work. Arter said the drilling would help the spines stay in. The pumpkin weighs about 300 pounds and will probably make a cute animal, she told the Richmond girl. “Yeah,” she answered as her father Allen Daniels looked on. He had the day off and was spending it with his daughter at their first Pumpkinfest. 

What did he think so far? “I think it’s fantastic.” His daughter loves art and loves to glue things, “So she’s like a super fan of this,” he said as Arter drilled and the girl put in several of the spines for her.

Arter said kids don’t get to do enough three-dimensional art. “So I think this was a great opportunity.”

Arter also likes that the giant pumpkin artwork of Pumpkinfest is not a contest, it’s just part of the celebration. “I think that tells something about our community, that we do this.”