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So what do the Silver Surfer, Tim Burton movies and aquatic sea animals have in common?
They’re all a source of inspiration for the pieces of vegetable art made every fall at the annual Great Pumpkin Carve in Chadds Ford.
Dating back over 40 years, the Great Pumpkin Carve started when Jimmy Lynch, the subject of Jamie Wyeth’s famous “Draft Age,” convinced Andrew and Jamie Wyeth to carve some pumpkins for the Chadds Ford Inn.
Flash forward four decades later and the Carve – now sponsored by the Chadds Ford Historical Society – attracts dozens of carvers from across the region, and hundreds of spectators eager to see the creations up close.
And these aren’t your typical cute little grocery store pumpkins, either: they’re enormous, ranging from 150 to 400 pounds and usually of the Atlantic Giant or Prize Winner variety.
Grown by SIW Vegetables of Chadds Ford, the pumpkins arrive at the Historical Society only hours before the Carve begins. They’re also randomly assigned so none of the artists know what they’re working with until they show up with tools in hand.
The carvers have only a few hours to create their masterpieces, and can generally only use hand tools. Some carvers come with an idea in mind for their creation, and some – like last year’s “Best Carving” winner Chuck Feld – are more fluid with their inspiration.
“I pretty much decide what the pumpkin is going to be when I get there and get a look at it,” Feld said, whose prize-winning pieces range from funny faces to the aforementioned aquatic sea life – in this case, a sea turtle.
The final pieces are judged late on Thursday night, with categories for Best Overall, Most Halloween, Best Carving, Most Original and Best Use of Pumpkin.
There are also categories for People’s Choice and Carver’s Choice, for those creations that sometimes lie outside the general guidelines of the competition.
You know, like when April Margera showed up with a power saw in 2010?
The 2012 Great Pumpkin carve starts Thursday, Oct. 25, from 5 to 9 p.m., with the winners announced that evening. The creations are then on display at the Historical Society on Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27.
For details, tickets and more information, visit www.chadds-ford-historical-society.org.