PARIS – Pumpkins aplenty will be on display at a first-ever Pumpkin Festival from 4 to 9 p.m. Oct. 23 at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.

There will be so many pumpkins, in fact, that organizers have arranged for scaffolding to put the pumpkins on display. People are encouraged to bring their own pumpkins, either carved or uncarved, to display alongside pumpkins grown by area schoolchildren and members of the Pumpkin Festival Committee. They can also carve them at the festival at special carving stations.

Why make such a fuss about pumpkins? It’s about taking a seed and watching it grow, said festival coordinator Pat Chenery.

The event is a fund-raiser for Dollars for Scholars, a SAD 17 scholarship program that helps students raise money for college.

“This is designed to get our community excited in raising money for scholarships for youth,” Chenery said.

Pumpkin seeds, donated by Paris Farmers Union, were distributed this spring to school children in Harrison, Hebron and West Paris, who planted them with their teachers’ help. Other students took the seeds home to their parents to plant in their private gardens.

Most of the pumpkins that will be on display will come from a large community pumpkin garden in Oxford that was plowed and sown with the help of Smedberg’s Crystal Spring Farm.

Festival volunteers Evelyn Donovan, Fred Donovan, Gail Bumbaca, Misty Yates, Sue Merrill and Chenery recently picked the pumpkins for the festival.

The event is free, and there will be food available and horse-drawn wagon rides.

“Hopefully it will be a whole lot of fun,” said Chenery. Sponsors of the festival are SAD 17, Boston Ladder & Scaffolding of Scarborough, Norway-Paris Kiwanis Club, Millett Realty of Auburn, Paris Farmers Union, Oxford Hills Rotary and Smedberg’s Crystal Spring Farm.

Money for Dollars for Scholars will come from people who pledge “a penny a pumpkin,” or any amount they wish, per displayed jack-o’-lantern at the festival.

Donations may also be sent directly to Dollars for Scholars, P.O. Box 174, Norway, ME 04268.


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