Good gourd!

Fifth an­nual Kentville Pump­kin Walk set for Oct. 17

Annapolis Valley Register - - COMMUNITY - BY LAURA CHURCHILL DUKE SPE­CIAL TO KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA

The an­nual pump­kin walk in Kentville is a great op­por­tu­nity for Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity Col­lege stu­dents to get in­volved in their lo­cal com­mu­nity, says Ni­cole Robin­son from the col­lege’s fac­ulty of tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity man­age­ment.

“Not to men­tion, the com­mu­nity might get mad at us if we stopped as it’s be­come an an­nual event for some fam­i­lies,” she says.

For the fifth con­sec­u­tive year, on Oct. 17 tourism stu­dents un­der Robin­son’s guid­ance will host the an­nual pump­kin walk at Miner’s Marsh in Kentville. Vis­i­tors walk in sin­gle file around the marsh, see­ing the spec­tac­u­larly carved jack-o’-lanterns.

This year, Robin­son says there will be about 400 carved pump­kins to see. Tourism stu­dents be­gin carv­ing three days prior to the event, us­ing many of their own ideas or draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from lo­cal or in­ter­na­tional events tak­ing place. The In­ter­net has loads of tem­plates as well, she adds.

“Hav­ing to clean out 400 pump­kins is not an easy task,” says Robin­son. “It’s su­per messy!”

In ad­di­tion to those pump­kins carved by the stu­dents, stu­dents reach out to lo­cal busi­nesses, get­ting them on board to carve some them­selves. Robin­son says busi­nesses con­trib­ute about 90 of the carved pump­kins, with some busi­nesses do­nat­ing six. Stir­lings and the Town of Kentville do­nate the ma­jor­ity of the pump­kins, she says.

The plan­ning and ex­e­cu­tion of the pump­kin walk is part of the cur­ricu­lum and com- mu­nity ser­vice for th­ese stu­dents, ex­plains Robin­son. Mul­ti­ple cour­ses they are tak­ing have a di­rect con­nec­tion. For in­stance, writ­ing let­ters to the busi­ness com­mu­nity is con­nected to their com­mu­ni­ca­tions course, and there is also an event-plan­ning course that stu­dents re­ceive credit for.

En­trance to the event is by in-kind do­na­tions, food bank do­na­tions for Chrysalis House and NSCC’s food bank - or for free. It’s open to all, says Robin­son.

“Each year we have enough food do­na­tions to fill the col­lege’s food bank to the brim,” says Robin­son. “The stu­dents have also raised $10,000 over the last few years that paid for the spe­cialty lights on the bridge at the marsh.”

When com­ing to the event, Robin­son ad­vises vis­i­tors to en­ter through the park­ing lot by the marsh be­hind the court­house, rather than tak­ing the path through on Lev­erett Av­enue. She also says to bring a flash­light and to leave your dogs at home.

“It is a safety is­sue and dogs have 364 days to en­joy the park, we are just ask­ing for one,” says Robin­son.

There are many rea­sons peo­ple are asked to leave dogs as it is dark and, if they poop, some­one may step in it. Dogs meet­ing dogs in a dark place can be a chal­lenge, and be­cause of the crowds, many peo­ple may be ner­vous of furry friends, she says.

All pump­kins are free for the tak­ing at 8:30 p.m. sharp - and not sooner. Robin­son says this is one of the best parts of the event. She loves see­ing the kids stand over their favourite pump­kin at the end of the night, guard­ing it so no one can take that one home in­stead of them.

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