Stage set for The Great Pumpkin Carve in Chadds Ford
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.chaddsfordhistory.org.
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@GenePisasale.com. Visit his website at www. GenePisasale.com.
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.