Stage set for The Great Pump­kin Carve in Chadds Ford

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Gene Pisas­ale For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

CHADDS FORD >> Any­one over the age of 40 likely knows the tele­vi­sion spe­cial “It’s the Great Pump­kin, Char­lie Brown!” which first aired on Oct. 27, 1966 and be­came a smash hit, with whim­si­cal scenes of kids carv­ing jack o’lanterns ac­com­pa­nied by the in­spired jazz pi­ano of Vince Guaraldi. This year marks the 50th an­niver­sary of the spe­cial, which has now be­come a cher­ished part of the fall reper­toire.

The art work of Charles Schulz and the re­fresh­ingly vi­brant tune “Li­nus and Lucy” warmed the hearts of mil­lions around the world. They’ve be­come sym­bols of this sea­son, along with crim­son-leafed maples and rus­tic farm stands of­fer­ing fresh pro­duce from wooden carts on back coun­try roads.

The Chadds Ford His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety wel­comes the cel­e­bra­tion of au­tumn each year with The Great Pump­kin Carve.

Carv­ing and dec­o­rat­ing pump­kins has its roots in Eng­land, but has been pop­u­lar in Amer­ica for nearly two cen­turies.

The prac­tice re­ceived greater recog­ni­tion here in Ch­ester County when An­drew Wyeth be­gan craft­ing his cre­ations in the 1970s at the his­toric Chadds Ford Inn (now Brandy­wine Prime).

Along with his son Jamie, they sculpted enough be­guil­ing fig­ures to at­tract huge crowds, even­tu­ally need­ing a larger space to dis­play them. In 1992, the an­nual cel­e­bra­tion moved up the road to the grounds of the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, where hun­dreds of peo­ple en­joyed the clev­erly de­signed hand­i­works lit by can­dles at night.

To­day these strangelook­ing gourds are trans­formed by tal­ented artists into a be­wil­der­ing va­ri­ety of fan­ci­ful shapes and take their places in an en­chant­ing pump­kin patch for ev­ery­one to see.

The largest ones tilt in at sev­eral hun­dred pounds and are quite huge, pro­vid­ing an en­ter­tain­ing and pho­to­genic back­drop for pho­tographs of the en­tire fam­ily. The ever pop­u­lar Haunted Trail stands nearby, of­fer­ing par­ents and kids the op­por­tu­nity to wan­der among spooky ghouls, ghosts and gob­lins en­veloped by haunt­ingly eerie mu­sic.

The Great Pump­kin Carve will be held Thurs­day Oct. 20 and Fri­day Oct. 21 from 5-9 p.m. and on Satur­day Oct. 22 with ex­panded hours from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety Vis­i­tor Cen­ter, 1736 Creek Road in Chadds Ford.

On Thurs­day night, vis­i­tors can watch the artists in ac­tion as they bring the pump­kins to life, il­lu­mi­nated to high­light their amaz­ing fea­tures. This year more than 50 gifted in­di­vid­u­als will be creat­ing beau­ti­ful dis­plays that will please even the most dis­crim­i­nat­ing viewer. There will be hayrides, live mu­sic, food and bev­er­ages along with se­lected arts and crafts. Ad­mis­sion is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 7 to 17. It is free for Chadds Ford His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety mem­bers and kids six and un­der.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact the Chadds Ford His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety at 610388-7376 or visit their web­site at www.chadds­ford­his­

Gene Pisas­ale is an au­thor/lec­turer/his­to­rian based in Ken­nett Square, Pa. His eight books and lec­ture se­ries fo­cus on the his­tory of the Philadel­phia and mid-At­lantic re­gion. He can be con­tacted at Gene@GenePisas­ Visit his web­site at www. GenePisas­


The Great Pump­kin Carve in Chadds Ford is great fam­ily fun.


One of the pump­kins sub­mit­ted for a con­test en­try at last year’s Great Pump­kin Carve in Chadds Ford.


The Great Pump­kin Carve con­tin­ues to of­fer fun for the whole fam­ily as an an­nual au­tumn tra­di­tion in Chadds Ford.


The Great Pump­kin Carve is great fun for young and old, and is a fundraiser for the Chadds Ford His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

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